By: Vincent Pensabene
Now that the news is all but official, Manny Machado will be switching coasts and playing the remainder of the season in an iconic Dodgers uniform. The Dodgers were at a need for a shortstop and now will be favorites for the World Series in a lot of people’s minds. Well, Dodgers will appear in the World Series but continue to fall short in 2018.
The big question is how will Machado adjust to the bright lights of LA and I believe he will adjust quickly. Giancarlo Stanton, who was a member of the Miami Marlins and traded to the New York Yankees in the offseason, took about a month to get comfortable but that was also getting back in the groove of a season. Machado is doing this move mid-season.
On a side note: If the deal was in place prior to the All-Star Game, which is just an exhibition game that doesn’t have any impact, why couldn’t MLB have some additional buzz by announcing the Machado trade prior to the game and have him be a member of the National League roster? The lasting image of Manny Machado’s last appearance in an Oriole jersey will be what is remembered for years to come, not the outcome of the game. Weird to see Machado not be in his new team’s jersey, especially when his new teammates are in the opposing dugout.
In a miserable 2018 season where it seems that the Baltimore Orioles just gave up, Machado remained the only player of value on the team, batting .315 with 24 homers and 65 RBIs on a team that has the worst average in baseball. Going from Baltimore to the bright lights of LA, where the team sells out often.
Next, think of how productive this Dodgers’ lineup will be with Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Matt Kemp, and Manny Machado. The protection around Machado will be huge and give him more fastballs and help the rest of the team’s production as well. This is arguably the best lineup in the National League now.
Finally, the upgrade of the shortstop position for the Dodgers. After Corey Seager needed Tommy John surgery and would miss the remainder of the 2018 season after suffering an injury at the end of April, the Dodgers sent Chris Taylor to fill the hole. To say Machado will be an upgrade would be an understatement but Taylor is tied for the NL lead in triples. Machado in the bright lights will be fun to see.
The Dodgers are currently leading the NL West but is in the middle of a four-team race as the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Giants are all within four games of LA. Machado is the best free agent-to-be and could only raise his own stock with a second half and postseason run. Dodgers are definitely hoping they will have the Paul George effect on Machado and sell him on the culture of LA to remain on the team after the season, but as a rental. Machado puts the Dodgers back in the World Series, but I still would be shocked to see a parade in LA after the season concludes with the roster how it is constructed. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros are still favorites over the Dodgers unless the Dodgers can get another bullpen pitcher since the team is middle-of-the-road after their starters.