Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is now 25 years old. He’s under contract with the Orioles until the end of the 2018 season. The Orioles need to trade Manny Machado for pitching prospects while he still has perceived value.
A good defensive third baseman who hits for power is a luxury the Orioles can’t afford, especially when you consider batting average. Manny Machado is currently hitting only .215 this season. Although batting average is often times a poor indicator of a player’s offensive ability, it’s a nice indicator of how many times a player’s efforts result in an out. Someone who is batting .215 generates an out for his team 78.5 percent of the time.
Whoever signs Manny Machado after the 2018 season will end up paying too much money. He’s the type of player who looks great on highlights. He makes outstanding defensive plays that look only better when seen over and over in high-definition slow motion. The same can be said for his home runs. What you don’t see in the highlights are all the times he’s strikes out (70) or all the other times he’s generated an out on offense. Manny Machado has generated 248 outs on offence, the worst for any third baseman in the American League.
If the Orioles are ever going to be a real contender in the American League East, they need to get rid of players like Manny Machado and replace them with pitchers who are more inclined to do well in the tiny confines of Camden Yards. That means pitchers who have a high ground ball percentage. That means pitchers who don’t throw a lot of pitches. The more pitches you throw, the more likely a hitter is going to guess right and either hit the ball over the shallow right field wall for a home run or in the left corner for a double.
What’s better, striking a hitter out with six pitches or making the hitter hit a ground ball to the shortstop on the very first pitch? It’s getting the batter out with only one pitch. One pitch outs are efficient and a thing of beauty. They’re far more valuable than a strikeout. Pitchers who can get hitters out with the least amount of pitches are the type of pitchers the Orioles need.
This is a philosophy that needs to begin in the minor leagues. Pitchers in the Orioles organization need to learn to be more cost-effective with their pitches. If the Orioles can trade Manny Machado for pitching prospects who already naturally embrace this pitching philosophy, then they need to do it while they can.
Also published on Medium.