Manny Machado is excited to play in his fourth All-Star Game on Tuesday night, but he acknowledged that he wasn’t really looking forward to the national media crush he’d experience during Monday’s All-Star Workout Day at Nationals Park.
But Machado sat in front of a sometimes suffocating reporter scrum Monday afternoon and answered every question thrown his way, taking a wide-ranging series of queries, from addressing that Instagram “like” of him in a New York Yankees uniform to what number he’d want to wear with a new team to whether he feels he should be more informed in the trade negotiations process.
After about 40 minutes of constant peppering, there was finally a moment of quiet.
How do you like silence, Manny?
“Awesome,” he said with a smile.
The Orioles have received offers from eight contending teams for Machado — who is the top trade chip available at the nonwaiver trade deadline — in a group that is believed to be led by the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers.
This national stage could be the final place Machado — the Orioles’ top homegrown talent since Cal Ripken Jr. — puts on a Baltimore uniform, a possibility he’s thought about.
“It crossed my mind,” Machado said. “Going to a lot of cities, a lot of questions asked and a lot of trade rumors. I think it’s crossed my mind that I might not be able put on this jersey. But I love putting on this jersey. I’ve put it on for the past eight years. Whether it’s the last time I put it on or not, it’s going to be special.”
The reason Machado is back in the All-Star Game is that he’s blocked out the noise around him and performed at a premier level.
But Machado conceded Monday that the constant trade questions that have followed him have dogged him and that he’d like to have more of a hand in knowing what’s going on.
“I’d like to be involved in it more,” Machado said. “But those are things that ownership, the front office, are in charge of. It’s all a part of the business side of it. We play baseball — the other stuff stays on that side. That’s just how things are.”
He said he’d prefer to have his situation resolved sooner than later, noting that he’s been on the trading block since the Orioles first openly shopped him in the offseason.
“Definitely, 100 percent,” Machado said. “Get these answers done with and just get it over with already. Let’s go on and not have to answer these questions no more. That would be good.”
Most of Machado’s answers were much of the same. He wants to continue to play shortstop but realizes he can’t navigate his landing spot in a trade. He has no control over where he goes. He likes the Phillies and their deep Orioles connections. He’s doesn’t want out of Baltimore. He’s excited to play for a contender. He liked that Instagram post of him in a Yankees uniform from account operated by him and his wife by mistake, but said he’s liked other posts of him in other uniforms.
“That was just a mistake,” Machado said. “I was scrolling down seeing pictures. I’ve liked a bunch of them to be honest. I’ve seen myself in Dodgers, Milwaukee, Phillies, I mean it’s been going on since, when were the winter meetings? December? It’s been going on forever. We like them all. … We’ve liked multiple ones. It’s gone on forever.”
Machado showed he can be an All-Star shortstop, elected to start for the American League in his first season as a regular at the position. He’s always embraced being a part of the All-Star Game spectacle, but this time was new.
“It’s always a blessing to be here,” Machado said. “No one’s ever going to take away how much fun I’m going to have the next two days. At the end of the day, it’s always a blessing to represent this organization. … I’m putting [the Orioles uniform] on. I’m going to represent this organization the right way and do everything possible to do it. If it is [the last time], it is. If not, I’ll be there on Friday and back with my teammates.”
Machado was asked whether a team that trades for him will have the inside track to signing him long term.
“I would love to test free agency, but you never know what happens between now and then,” Machado said. “I’m not even thinking that far ahead.”
What if the team that acquires Machado doesn’t have his No. 13 available?
“That’s thinking way too far ahead for me,” he said. “I haven’t even thought about that. We’ll have to sit down and decide. I don’t know. We’ll have to see. I don’t know. Something with a three? I don’t know. A number’s not my worries.”
In the middle of all the questions, many of which he couldn’t really answer, Machado showed a sense of humor by sharing the most interesting rumor he’s heard.
“One of my teammates kind of joked with me and told me I got traded to the Giants,” he said. “But it was the Tokyo Giants. That was one of the most interesting ones. … You never know at this point.”