Mar 15, 2014; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) in the dugout against the New York Yankees at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
When will Manny Machado be available, and what level of play may we expect for 2014?
Machado is visiting the doctor in California today, and the organization hopes for a very positive report. The last week has certainly not gone exceedingly well.
But even the best of news would make it almost unimaginable that the Orioles can get Manny ready to play in 10 days. Nor should they force this to happen.
It is entirely unarguable that Manny Machado is anything but one of those extraordinarily rare talents that comes along only once in a great while. I think I have a creative and positive imagination for what is possible, but Machado’s 2013 season was WAY FAR beyond my wildest imaginations.
There was no doubt that he should have started the season as the Orioles’ regular third baseman. He earned that from the final third of 2012. But I was very critical that Showalter was going to bat him second in the lineup. I would have told you that you were crazy if you said he would lead the league in doubles and be an all-star.
And that does not even begin to address the defense. One thing about being an older guy doing an Orioles blog is this: I’ve seen with my own eyes just about every player that has ever worn the orange and black, including old #5 at the hot corner. And to put it in the political posturing terms of a few years ago, “I knew Brooks Robinson. Brooks Robinson was a friend of mine, and you, sir, are no Brooks Robinson!” No, hear me on this – supported by Brooks himself – Machado is better! The glove may be equally the same, but Brooks never threw a baseball like this.
So, there is no need to rush Manny back. Give him some extra weeks. Let’s shoot and hope for late April.
But here is my real worry: It is not that Manny will get back later than that. I fear that he will not be the same person at all in 2014, due to spending the whole offseason getting repaired. I fear he will be irretrievably behind, and that we will not see the real Machado until 2015.
The good news here is that I’ve been totally wrong about Manny before, and Machado is, as stated above, everything but normal. Maybe he can do incredible things again. That would be great!