Four-time All-Star Manny Machado is ready to strike it rich in free agency this winter. The only question is which team will be willing to pony up perhaps as much as $300 million to sign him.
One team that certainly has the money is the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s where Machado finished the 2018 season after being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in July. But many are wondering if Machado’s already closed the door on a Hollywood return based on this “thank you” Instagram post he published on Wednesday night.
The text reads:
“I’d like to thank the Los Angeles Dodgers organization for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play for a World Series title. Wearing that iconic Dodger Blue everyday was truly an honor. To Doc, the coaching staff and the boys, it was a privilege going into battle with all of you! Something I’ll never forget!!”
“Thank you to the staff and front office for welcoming me and my wife with open arms from day one. To the Dodger Faithful and Pantone 294, you guys are amazing! 50,000 strong, bleeding Dodger Blue night in and night out. Thank you for making my experience as a Dodger, one I will cherish forever. I know we didn’t achieve our goal of bringing a championship back to Chavez Ravine, but there is no doubt in my mind that with this group of guys a World Series Title is on the horizon.”
“Gracias por hacerme sentir como en casa.”
It’s the type of message players usually send when their time with an organization is over. Most are understandably reading Machado’s message as his way of closing that door and saying goodbye to the Dodgers. Although some others are holding out hope that by saying “we didn’t achieve our goal” Machado still sees himself as a Dodger.
It’s probably wishful thinking.
Although he made more headlines during the postseason for his thoughts on why hustling doesn’t really matter, Machado was definitely a big part of the Dodgers’ second consecutive National League pennant. His addition made up for the loss of regular shortstop Corey Seager, who himself is an All-Star. Seager’s season ended in early April following Tommy John surgery.
Seager should be back for the beginning of the 2019 season. With Justin Turner locked in at third base, that would seemingly close any opening for a Machado return. Then again, the Dodgers aren’t against spending money to acquire talent despite not necessarily having a need. In addition to Machado, they added Brian Dozier and David Freese in trades despite having depth all over the diamond. Both played plenty down the stretch.
With that said, throwing a ton of money at Machado probably wouldn’t be the Dodgers’ best move. While he’s certain to be a franchise player wherever he goes, the commitment will be a steep one. Even for the Dodgers. It would limit their ability to keep their core together long-term.
When the Dodgers moved five prospects to get Machado, most assumed they did so knowing it would be a two- or three-month rental. That it ended being three months means it paid off to an extent. But even as the Dodgers ultimately fell short of their World Series title aspirations, it feels like both sides know they’re better off moving on without each other.
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