Manny Machado knew he'd been traded three days before anyone else

The Manny Machado trade, which happened over the All-Star break and sent the star to the Los Angeles Dodgers, wasn’t a surprise to anyone. There was no doubt the Baltimore Orioles were going to trade their talented homegrown shortstop who is bound for free agency in a matter of months.

But the trade *really* wasn’t a surprise to Machado. In an interview Machado gave to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, he revealed that the Orioles had reached a trade agreement with a team before the All-Star break, and told him days before the public knew about it.

Machado was the first to know

On the Sunday before the All-Star Game, Machado played his final game with the Orioles. He drew a walk and hit a home run, but was removed from the game after a fourth-inning rain delay. People immediately suspected that he’d been traded, but the Orioles said after the game that he was removed for precautionary reasons — they didn’t want him playing on a wet field — and not because of a trade.

It turns out that all parties were right, though no one knew it at the time. Machado told Nightengale that after he was removed from the game, the Orioles told him that he’d been traded.

“That’s when they had told me I had been traded,’’ Machado said. “They said they pretty much had a deal done. They just wanted to wait until after the break to get all of the medical stuff done.

“They kept me up to date as much as they could, but they wouldn’t tell me where I was going. Only that I was going somewhere.’’

Nightengale calls the Orioles’ stated reason for removing him from the game a “fib,” which doesn’t seem quite fair. The Orioles did remove him for precautionary reasons: he essentially already belonged to another team, and if he slipped on the wet field and impaled himself on his cleats, that would scuttle the whole deal.

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Manny Machado through his career
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Manny Machado through his career
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 09: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles slides into home plate to score his first career run in the fifth inning of his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 9, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 09: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles warms up before his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 9, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 10: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles cleans up after getting a shaving cream pie after a 7-1 victory against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 10, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Machado hit the first two home runs of his career in the game. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the New York Yankees during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 10, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Orioles 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 21: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles watches the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 12: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles plays third base during the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 12, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 10: Third baseman Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 9: Third baseman Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 9, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Texas Rangers won, 8-4. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 02: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on against the Minnesota Twins on May 2, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Orioles defeated the Twins 3-0. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
June 11 2014: Third baseman Manny Machado (13) of the Baltimore Orioles swings and misses during a MLB game against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland (Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 9, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Orioles defeated the Yankees 6-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Manny Machado #13 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 21, 2015 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Orioles 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Oct 1, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) rounds the bases on his solo home run during the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6), first baseman Chris Davis (19) and third baseman Manny Machado (13) celebrate their win over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) reaches for a base hit in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
May 16, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 16, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) hits a two-run single in the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) reacts in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 1, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) catches a line drive to record the final out to beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-2 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) is congratulated by outfielder Adam Jones (10) after hitting a game tying two run home run in the 7th inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) watches his game tying two run home run in the 7th inning against the New York Yankees enter the stands at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
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Manny Machado, secret keeper

Not surprisingly, Machado was asked question after question about his imminent trade during media day before the All-Star Game. And even though he knew that it was happening, he had to keep it a secret. He didn’t reveal any details.

Speculation about his destination reached a fever pitch during the All-Star Game itself, when Machado took a selfie with the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp. Did Machado know something we didn’t?

The Orioles didn’t tell Machado where he was going, so he didn’t know anything official. But he had an inkling where he would end up.

“I kind of had a feeling it was going to be L.A.,’’ said Machado, who was hitting .315 with 24 homers and 65 RBI, “but at that point nothing was sure. When I took that picture with Matt, I didn’t know for sure we were going to be teammates, and certainly not locker mates.’’

Being traded was still emotional

Knowing that he was being traded didn’t make it any easier for Machado to hear the news once it was official. He told Nightengale he was at Camden Yards when he got the call from GM Dan Duquette, and after he hung up the phone, he couldn’t hold back the tears.

“It was so emotional, it just hit me,’’ Machado said. “I was in that one little corner of the clubhouse for so long. All of those feelings came back. It was tough. So I stormed out of there.

“None of my teammates were in there, but I didn’t want anyone to see me like that.’’

Several of Machado’s Orioles teammates came to his house to visit him before he and his wife departed for Los Angeles, including Jonathan Schoop, who was just as emotional as Machado.

“I broke down and started to cry like a kid,’’ Schoop told reporters Friday. “You don’t want to believe it happened.’’

Despite all the complicated feelings, Machado is excited to start a new chapter in his professional life.

“It was just so hard,’’ Machado said. “It’s the only organization I’ve known. The place I loved. They’re the ones who believed in me.

“But if I was going to be traded, we’re excited it’s L.A. It’s a new league. A new city. And a new journey.

“It would have been easier, I guess, if I had been traded last winter so you know everybody. But honestly, I’m glad it happened like this. I’m grateful for how it happened.

“So far, it’s like living a dream.’’

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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