The Orioles have a very tough decision to make at the end of this season: Do they keep Manny Machado? Of course, many O’s fans would be saying this should be a no brainer for the front office, just pay the man already but it’s not that simple. It’s no doubt that Manny is an all-star talent at third base, we haven’t seen his kind of talent in an Orioles uniform sense Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and that is good company to be in.
Manny has been a Platinum Glover, 3x Gold Glover and 3x All Star and is the prime-time kind of player you build a winning organization around and appears to have some decent quality talent to build around. Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo are the big muscle but are not known for hitting for contact, Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard are showing plenty of promise in the outfield and it would behoove the Orioles to find a way to get Hyun-soo Kim some more playing time. The issue with the O’s and many other teams is balancing hitting and pitching and that comes down to money.
Rumor around town is that Manny will be eyeing $400 million contract after the 2018 season.
That will be a hefty price tag for the Orioles if they want to hold on to him but is he worth that price tag? The stats say yes.
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With Machado averaging a .278 Batting average, 29 HR’s and 82 RBI a season and only 24 years old, teams will be knocking down the door (Yankees) to sign and all-star like Machado and that alone will drive his price up; Hell, Mike Trout signed a 6-year extension, in 2014, worth $144.5 million and that’s considered a steal since he’s considered the best 5 tool player in baseball. The issue with baseball is the illusion that baseball players are making too much money but as Orioles fans know, it seems like the baseball owners don’t spend enough on their rosters like they should. According to Joe Sheehan via The Atlantic, “found that teams only invest about 43 percent of this amount into player salaries—a lower percentage than owners in the NFL, NBA, or NHL.” That is hard to believe seeing the size of some of these deals but when look at the local tv networks (i.e. MASN-Orioles/Nationals and YESN-Yankees) which even the NFL, NBA and NHL don’t have, there is plenty of money to go around.
The Orioles have always taken the cheap route when it comes to building its team by waiting until the last moments of free agency to sign platoon players instead of keeping stars like Mike Mussina and Jake Arrietta, until recently. Peter Angelos finally broke out the check book when he signed Chris Davis to a 7 year $161 million, keeping him in Baltimore much to the delight of Orioles fans but in the process, The Orioles let another homegrown favorite in Matt Weiters leave for the Nationals but that appears to be the Orioles making a decision that they could only pay one of the two young stars.
Manny is under the control of the Orioles through the 2018 season so there is no pressure to sign him to deal until after the 2017 season is over but the pressure from the fans can’t be dismissed,
Manny is a fan favorite in Baltimore and has become good friends with player Jonathan Shoop which is the kind of asset that can a guy like Machado in Charm City.
The Orioles have the makings of team that can be solid for years to come and a fan base that seems to have come out of the shadows to embrace its favorite team once more but if the front office lets Manny leave, I fear it will be the straw that broke the camel’s back and will be hard to convince them that is was the right move. The Orioles have one glaring issue that they must address soon (Starting pitching) if they want to truly contend but Manny could be the future heart and soul of this team (i.e. Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Adam Jones) and that’s the kind of stat you can’t put a price tag on.