SARASOTA, Fla. — Manny Machado reported to the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp on Saturday and was ready to move — to shortstop, that is.
As far as whether he’ll end up on another team anytime soon, the All-Star says he isn’t concentrating on that.
The 25-year-old was the subject of much trade talk over the offseason. Baltimore made it known that Machado, who is eligible for free agency following this season, could be available for the right price.
The Orioles didn’t find an acceptable trade partner, and now Machado, who has played third base for nearly all his major league career, will shift to shortstop, the position he grew up playing, at his request.
“At one point, it was kind of a little sad,” Machado said. “Thank God nothing went down and I was able to come back and see my guys that I’ve been with for seven years. It’s just going to be a great experience that I went through at that time —a learning experience this whole offseason— that I’m putting in the back of my mind going forward getting ready for this year.”
Machado was converted to third base when Baltimore called him up to the major leagues in August 2012.
Because the Orioles’ longtime shortstop J.J. Hardy became a free agent after last season, Machado made it be known that he’d like to play short again.
Machado, a three-time All-Star third baseman, has won two Gold Gloves there. Last season, he hit .259 with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs.
He’s likely to be one of the most sought-after of all free agents next offseason, and could again be the subject of trade talks if the Orioles have a poor start to the season.