Is Manny Machado hurting his stock this postseason?
Machado, who had a tremendous regular season, is performing well in the playoffs, hitting .250 (9-for-36) with three home runs, nine RBIs and an .881 OPS through nine games. He’s had some great moments, both at the plate and in the field, and is a major reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers are one win away from reaching the World Series after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Wednesday in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
That said, there have been other issues this postseason that make it fair to wonder whether Machado is costing himself money in free agency this winter. So Jon Heyman of Fancred caught up with some baseball executives to see whether their opinions of Machado have changed.
Here’s what Heyman wrote in an article published Thursday:
“He’s A-Rod II,” one baseball executive said.
“He’s A-Rod without the steroids,” another exec said.
“He’s basically following A-Rod’s lead,” another longtime baseball person said.
What’s all the fuss about? Well, Machado, who didn’t run out a ground ball in Game 2 of the NLCS, basically admitted to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that hustling isn’t his “cup of tea.” He then was fined for running into the leg of Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar in the 10th inning of Game 4.
While there might not be a direct link between that type of behavior and Alex Rodriguez’s controversial career, it’s apparent Machado is becoming quite a villain across Major League Baseball. Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich even called Machado a “dirty player” after Game 4.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Machado definitely will lose money in free agency. After all, A-Rod signed two record contracts — one for $252 million and the other for $275 million — and is one of the most physically gifted players in MLB history despite his connection to performance-enhancing drugs. A $300 million deal for Machado still seems possible in spite of rubbing some folks the wrong way this October.
But Machado might want to pick up the hustle and tone down the tomfoolery, because the book is out on his antics. One Baltimore Orioles person even told Heyman that Machado was a great kid but lost “focus” in recent years, while another executive reportedly criticized the four-time All-Star’s postseason shenanigans.
“I have never seen a major free agent make any more dumb statements/decisions in a 24-hour window while still playing the game than Machado,” the second exec told Heyman.
Guess that’s just Manny being Manny, for better or worse.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images