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What they're saying about Orioles moving Manny Machado to shortstop

Orioles manager Buck Showalter on Manny Machado moving to shortstop and Tim Beckham moving to third base.

Reaction to the Orioles announcing they're moving Manny Machado to shortstop this season — from those directly involved to those who cover Major League Baseball.

“It is Manny’s natural position and Manny’s basically played shortstop in the shift for three or four years. I think we’re moving Manny back to his natural position. And [Tim Beckham’s] been playing a lot of places. I know how important Manny is for our team and I think he could be the most impactful there, especially without J.J. [Hardy]. ... We had some challenges there without J.J. and I think Manny is the best option there, and Tim can do it, too.”

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"I'm open to it, especially if it helps the team and it's a better fit for the team. The end goal is to win ballgames and you don't want to lose sight of that, and I don't want to make this a big deal. I'm just going to transition over there and continue to make the plays and be consistent."

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Are the Orioles just trying to appease Machado in the hope that he’ll want to re-up with the team after his “walk” year?

Are they hoping to increase his value for a possible midseason trade?

Or do they simply think he’s the best man for the job?

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The Orioles granted Machado his wish, even though he is entering his free-agent season and might be traded at the July 31 nonwaiver deadline, or even before. Beckham, who has made only five career starts at third, knows he might be back at short in, well, relatively short order.

By granting him his wish, it could have a long-term effect. Machado, who had been the subject of trade rumors all winter, becomes a free agent after the season. He had been lobbying for the move for when he hits free agency.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette said two things many times to fans and the media Saturday. One was that the success of the team hinges on somehow rebuilding the rotation around Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. The second is that the 2018 edition of the Orioles is going to be much better with Machado on it, regardless of the pitching.

The caveat there should be a happy Machado. Machado really has nothing to gain by sulking through a season on a losing team at third base ahead of his prized opportunity at free agency, and Showalter has said a few times that Machado understands how to separate the business side from the baseball. This isn't an appeasement as a bargaining chip toward an extension — let's not be ridiculous with that talk anymore. But it is a nod toward the players in the sense that the coaches and management can at least garner some goodwill in the clubhouse by doing right by a player who has no recourse in the matter.

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