Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is struggling mightily at the plate right now, and his attitude isn’t helping matters much either. Believe it or not, a demotion is an option for the All-Star, according to the team.
FOX Sports reported Tuesday that the Orioles would consider sending Machado to the minors if his offensive struggles continue. Machado is hitting just .229 this season with four home runs and 11 RBIs. The phenom started his season May 1 after missing the first month of the season while recovering from a knee injury.
“That’s always an option (to send him down),” Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told FOX Sports. “The guy distinguished himself in the big leagues last year. We’d much rather see him develop his skills here. But that’s always an option.”
Machado, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft, was fast-tracked to the big leagues as a can’t-miss prospect. He made his debut in 2012 and hit .262 in 51 games. He was fantastic in his first full season in the majors last year, hitting .283 with 14 home runs and 71 RBIs while playing sensational defense at third. Machado was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and finished ninth in American League MVP voting.
This year, however, has been a struggle. In addition to the drop-off in production, Machado was in the news over the weekend after a couple of scuffles with the Oakland Athletics. It’s expected he’ll be suspended Tuesday after throwing his bat late in Sunday’s game against Oakland, a move that earned him an ejection. Machado has since apologized for his actions, and the O’s reportedly held a players-only team meeting Monday.
Whether the Orioles actually would demote Machado is up for debate. However, when you consider the timing of this news, it’s probably a little more than coincidence. The message certainly seems to be that the Orioles want their franchise cornerstone to get his act together both at the plate and between the ears.