Yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles traded four-time All-Star third baseman Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five prospects. The move officially ends a golden era of competitive baseball in Baltimore.
The Orioles are an absolutely horrendous team right now; they own a 28-69 record at the All-Star break, are 39.5 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, and have a 4.87 team ERA. However, the team’s lack of success has hardly been because of Machado. In his contract year, Machado has been putting up ridiculous numbers. He’s hitting .315 with 24 bombs and 65 RBI’s.
Hence, it was time for both sides to move on. The Orioles are nowhere even remotely close to competing, and Machado is 26-years-old and in the prime of his career.
For the Orioles, the move almost certainly means they’ll fade back into the shadows of DMV sports. Since 2012, when Machado first got called up the major league squad, they’ve put together four 85 win seasons, three playoff appearances, and one AL East crown. However, before then, the O’s hadn’t put together a winning season (.500 record or above) since 1997. That’s 15 years of terrible baseball in a city that already struggles to attract enough fans.
For Machado, the trade signals the end of an iconic six year career with the O’s. Selected with the third pick in the 2010 MLB draft, he was a homegrown star that gave O’s fans a reason to watch games.
Machado’s style of play represents what makes the current generation of baseball players so exciting to watch. For his whole career with the O’s, he played with so much swag that, when you watch him, you couldn’t help but drop your jaw and say, Wow. He made insanely difficult plays on defense look relatively effortless. If you don’t believe me, watch these defensive highlights.
Machado is a one man show capable of captivating an entire audience; that is why he was such an important figure for Baltimore. He brought much needed excitement to a franchise that, in the last few decades, has always lacked talent. With that excitement, you could always count on him to deliver the highs:
And, of course, the lows:
Regardless, Manny Machado is Baltimore baseball. If it weren’t for him, they would still be the team subordinate to the Nats that doesn’t have any fans. He made the Orioles relevant again.