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Manny Machado Is Officially Moving Back To Shortstop

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This past weekend was the annual Orioles FanFest. Normally an event where the club shows off their big signing and new players, Chris Davis a few years back, and Mark Trumbo last year. This year was different. Maybe it was the last place finish from a team who absolutely crumbled down the stretch, maybe it was only having 2 starting pitchers on the roster right now, or maybe it was Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop deciding to ditch the event 24 hours before the doors opened. With all that bad news, it was still good to see and hear from the guys who did give a shit and decided to show up. Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Kevin Gausman, and Dylan Bundy all had appearances and spoke to the crowd. Fans appreciated the players who did show up. Lots of news came out FanFest, some good, some bad, let’s look at some of the main headlines.

Now at shortstop, #13….

Manny Machado has seen his name all over the place this offseason with all the trade rumors, now we see his name in the headlines for another reason. Buck announced that Manny Machado will be the Orioles starting shortstop on Opening Day. Machado was drafted as a SS and played there in the minors before playing a handful of games at third before getting called up in 2012. He’s started 49 games at short in his Orioles career, pretty much all when JJ Hardy has been hurt. Earlier this offseason he expressed his desire to play the position he grew up playing, and it seems as if Buck and the orginization is going to let that happen.

I do find the move strange, just because it seems like the Orioles are bowing down to Machado and granting his wish while he is still here. Will he be here in 7 months? Probably not, so why cater to him? It’s not like this is a move that is going to convince him to stay in Baltimore, because god knows Dan Duquette hasn’t talked to him about an extension in 3 years. So why do it? To show other teams his value? I think other teams know what they are getting with Manny, regardless of where he plays. They know he can play gold glove defense at third, as well as short. To me it seems like the Orioles are going to grant his wish while he has 1 foot out the door, keep a smile on his face while he is here. This just goes to show how badly the Orioles front office screwed this up. I said a few weeks ago it was Dan Duquette’s fault, well the blame also falls on Peter Angelos and the guys in the warehouse. Hey Pete, you’ve got a once in a generation player, wake the fuck up and when he’s 23 and showing glimpses of greatness, maybe open the checkbook like you did for Davis and Ubaldo and sign the guy. If you know you can’t afford him, then at least put up a front and offer him a deal for 5/$250 million, something he’ll reject and you can look at us with those dead eyes and say “what do you want us to do, we tried?!?!”. Again, this is all a moo point if the Orioles tried to sign Machado to a deal a few years ago. There is no doubt Manny can play shortstop at an elite level, and we know he will. It just is a weird move to make right now. Make this move 2 years ago before JJ Hardy started to decline, not when Manny has his bags packed already.

With all due respect Mr Angelos, you and some of the others in that warehouse are a joke. You and the other blockheads in have screwed this team for years, you get a little glimpse of what its like to win and it’s like you freeze up. You sign Chris Davis and guys like Ubaldo, while we are going to watch Manny Machado have a Hall of Fame career with someone else. Open your god damn eyes and quit counting your money Peter, spend it. You say you want to win and compete with the big dogs, you have the MASN money, yet you sit on your hands.

Tim Beckham At The Hot Corner

I’m not thrilled with this move as I mentioned above. Does the switch of Machado and Beckham make the Orioles any better? No. It makes them worse. Taking a Platinum Glove winner at third and moving him to short, and moving a below average short stop and moving him to third, it’s clear the Birds are worse than they were last week. As I said above, this is not a baseball move, it is a move to please the superstar who is on his way out. Beckham was a liability at short last year and during his career with the Rays, and now they expect him to step in for Manny? Right, okay. The drop-off from Machado’s arm to Beckham’s arm is going to make me puke. Beckham has only played 5 games at the hot corner in his career, so of course there will be a learning curve for him. Now I’ve never played third base in the majors, but I can’t think it is as easy as Manny makes it look.

Beckham isn’t a bad player, he was picked #1 for a reason. We saw the bat last year, and boy does it play in Camden Yards. But when you just go back and watch the plays Manny has made at third in his career, there is just no chance Beckham is in the same atmosphere at Machado on defense. I thought the smarter move would have been to move Schoop to third, and Beckham to second. Schoop has a much stronger arm than Tim, and he’s just so damn big, why not move him to third where his range would probably fit better. I may keep tally of how many times I mutter “Manny makes that play” when a ball gets by Beckham at third. Just an all around shitty situation that the Orioles have butchered.

Some other noteworthy news from FanFest-

Buck Showalter was NOT happy with the absences by Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado from FanFest. Machado apparently had a legit reason and Buck mentioned he was “okay” with him missing it and understood it happens. For Schoop, he did not hide his feelings. He said he was disappointed and said “we’ve all received bad advice”. Seems like Schoop, who is in arbitration with he club right now, was told by his agent to skip the event. And if we’re being honest, it’s a big diva move from a guy who has a chance to be a star here. He is BFF with Manny, so who knows if he is upset with how they are treating his friend and thinks it will happen to him, regardless, it’s not a good look at all by Schoop.

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Adam Jones was asked about his future in Baltimore a few different times, his answer each time? “Ask Dan.” He also said there have been no contract extension talks with him and the club. Again, DD and Peter knocking it out of the park. You have a guy who LOVES this city, signed an extension here when no one wanted to play in Baltimore, and how do you reward him when his contract is coming up? You do nothing? Again, Peter and DD are a bunch of morons.

- Zach Britton spoke to the media about his recent Achilles injury and said he was feeling good. He also told reporters that he’ll be down at Spring Training. Obviously not doing any baseball activities, but it’s nice to see him in good spirits.

– It was known Chris Davis would be skipping FanFest, his wife was preggo with twins, who were delivered on 1/23. Happy for Chris and Jill. PS. Jill is not looking bad hours after having twins. Sup?

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Trey Mancini was recently named by MLB Network’s “The Shredder” as being the 5th best left fielder in baseball. Pretty neat for a guy who hadn’t played that position before last Spring Training.

– Dan Duquette said he is still confident the team can sign a few Major League pitchers by March 1st……right Dan, whatever you say, bud.

@BarstoolRDT