Machado joining the Orioles
Baltimore’s Manny era has begun.
The Orioles announced plans Wednesday night to select the contract of top position prospect Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie prior to Thursday’s game, a move that bolsters Baltimore’s infield and supports the organization’s stance that it is committed to winning in 2012.
“The guy’s got a lot of talent and we feel like he can help,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Machado, a top young shortstop considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, period.
“Manny should be a plus defender, wherever we play him. He’s a five-tool player and he can help our team. I think he improves our team and it’s important here [for this club] to be strong.”
Machado has played mostly shortstop at the Double-A level but is expected to be used at third base with the O’s given shortstop J.J. Hardy’s stellar play. The 20-year-old has played two career games at third base, but the Orioles’ brass feel he’s capable of handling another position and helping a Baltimore club –which enters Thursday in a three-way tie for the American League Wild Card – make a playoff push.
“When you have the player with this kind of talent, he’s a natural,” Duquette said of Machado, who was named the Eastern League Player of the Week going 10-for-21, including hitting for the cycle on Saturday. “The guy’s got a lot of talent and we feel like he can help.”
A smooth defender, Machado has drawn comparisons to Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez –who he works out with in the offseason — and has hit .266/.343/.428 in three Minor League seasons. Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 Draft, has played 203 games at shortstop, three at designated hitter and two at third base, posting a career .955 fielding percentage over that span.
Following the Orioles’ 9-2 win Wednesday night, Orioles manager Buck Showalter made it clear the club will do whatever possible to stay in the postseason race, a sentiment confirmed shortly after with news of Machado’s pending arrival.
“If we can do something that makes us two inches better to have a chance to win the last 49 games, we’re going to do it,” Showalter said.