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.
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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