Manny Machado entered the 2018 season ready to cash in on free agency. According to FanGraphs Machado averaged a 4.56 WAR over his first 5 seasons and he is regarded as one of the game’s young stars. He’d been pretty close to the best third baseman in the American League, but started the 2018 as a shortstop.
As the season began the Orioles were rubbish so Machado became trade bait. Earlier in the season Dodgers star shortstop, Corey Seager, was declared out for the rest of the season for Tommy John surgery. Chris Taylor was doing a decent job as the replacement for Seager but Machado would be a clear upgrade. By the All-Star game rumors were rampant that Machado would be a Dodger.
— MLB (@MLB) July 18, 2018
It’s official: The Los Angeles #Dodgers today acquired four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Díaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) July 19, 2018
The Dodgers gave up a lot for to acquire a “rental” like Machado but his AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS+ slash line with the Orioles was .315/.387/.575/164. With Justin Turner hurt Machado played a lot of third base in his first few games with the Dodgers but went back to shortstop soon after.
With the Dodgers
Machado’s statistics weren’t quite as good with the Dodgers. In 66 games he slashed .273/.338/.487/122 and played some nice shortstop. He had taken a lot of criticism for some poor advanced metrics with the Orioles but he quickly improved with the Dodgers. There were some excellent defensive plays that he made for the Dodgers where he was able to show off an excellent arm.
NLDS Versus the Braves
Machado didn’t have a lot of hits in the National League Divisional Series against the Braves but had two memorable ones. In game 2 in which the Dodgers were up by 1-0 in the series Machado got the scoring started with a 2 run home run in the first inning. It was a lead the Dodgers would not relinquish but was also memorable for the young man who caught the home run ball.
When baseball is life. pic.twitter.com/sNVP8HOCWV
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 6, 2018
In game 4, with the Dodgers up 2 games to 1 and the game score at 3-2 Dodgers, Machado hit a 3-run bomb in the 7th inning to give the Dodgers a little comfort. They ended up winning the game 6-2 and won the series 3-1.
NLCS Versus the Brewers and the Emergence of Johnny Hustle
In the Dodgers 4 games to 3 victory over the Brewers Manny Machado slashed .296/.367/.444. The surprisingly biggest play by Machado was a bunt.
After that bunt Cody Bellinger hit a two run home run to put the Dodgers into the lead to stay in game 7. Machado played a key role in the Dodgers getting into the World Series.
During the season, and it was amplified in the playoffs, Machado clearly did not hustle on the base paths.
In interview w @Ken_Rosenthal Manny Machado admonishes himself for not hustling occasionally on ground balls but also says after 7 seasons of being who he is, he’s not likely to change- saying he’s no “Johnny Hustle.” He’s honest but…???? pic.twitter.com/MkbnJhrZRS
— Mark Viviano (@MarkWJZ) October 17, 2018
There was also an incident where it looked like Machado was playing dirty in breaking up double plays and clearly stepped on Jesus Aguilar. Judge for yourself if you think it was dirty.
The World Series
There really wasn’t anything that was very memorable from Manny Machado in the World Series. The whole “Johnny Hustle” stuff was fodder for the press. Of course, the only things I remember from him was striking out for the last out of the series and turning an easy double into a single.
It is pretty clear that Manny Machado will not be back with the Dodgers. In a poll I ran only 23% of voters wanted him back.
Dodgers fans! What do you want?
— Tim Rogers (SD Dodger) (@SDDodger) November 4, 2018
With Corey Seager coming back there doesn’t seem to be a need for Machado. However, I did make the case for bringing him back. It’s not often that excellent players are available and with Corey Seager coming back from Tommy John and Justin Turner getting older, there are ways to make room for Machado.
As of this writing, Manny Machado is a free agent. The teams that are rumored to be in the running are the Phillies, White Sox and Yankees. I predict he will end up with the Yankees. The Dodgers did reach out to him when free agency started but it looks like nothing else has happened.
Manny Machado was only a Dodger for a few short months, but they were pretty memorable for both good and bad reasons.
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