As expected, there have been no discussions with the team regarding an extension. Machado, who is set to become a free agent after the 2018 season, said politely that he’s getting tired of answering questions about extension talk, mainly because there’s been no progress.
“It’s something that, I’m not worried about it,” Machado said. “I’m trying to play baseball. I’m not going to sit here and answer these questions because there have been no talks. And when there is, you guys will probably be the first to know. To be honest, you might find out before me. I’m not worried about it. I came here to play baseball. Let’s just enjoy ourselves. This year, they’ve put a really good group of guys in this clubhouse. It will be really fun to play with them and see what we can do.”
Machado still plans to play shortstop in next month’s World Baseball Classic despite news of an injury to third baseman Adrian Beltre. He will play there in early spring training games before he joins the Dominican Republic WBC team. Machado said he has been told he could play both shortstop and third base.
“They made it clear I was going to be playing both regardless,” Machado said. “Whether [Beltre] is down now, I don't know how long he's going to be. I don't know. They said he wants to try to come back and play. I'm under the impression I'm going to play both regardless. We'll see. I told them I'll play whatever. I really didn't say one position. I'll play short. I'll play third. I told them I'll play first; it don't matter. I just want to go out there and represent the country and represent my family in the right way.”
Machado said he will play in spring training games early in order to get ready for the WBC, but will make sure he paces himself for the high-intensity innings he will face there and the grind of the regular season later on.
“Buck [Showalter] came up to us and set up a nice little program of what games we want to play in and what games we want to play before,” Machado said. “... You also don't want to go in and play too many games early on and get tired. I know we're going to play quite a few games in the Classic. You don't want to play too many games as well because I don't want to get fatigued for the year. There are a lot of things Buck sees where later on you kind of sit back and realize why he does it, so I kind of put a perspective on that as well.
“I don’t want to play all [the spring] games. I’m probably going to be playing 162 this year or 160, whatever it is, including the Classic. Just take enough quality at-bats, quality innings that I’m going to be playing when I play six or seven games down here. Just monitoring it -- don’t exaggerate it, don’t overdo it. [It’s] just a matter of quality over quantity.”