If Manny Machado were any more comfortable in spring training, he’d be carrying a hammock out to the field with him.
Six years after his last full-time exposure to playing shortstop — with the Double-A Bowie Baysox — Machado is making a glitch-free transition back to the position. If his employers, the Baltimore Orioles, had any concerns that a focus on defense might hinder his offensive production,nike new nfl jerseys Machado’s .419/.457/.744 slash line in 43 Grapefruit League at-bats is an early statement to the contrary. The bat is all revved up and ready to go.
A momentous year awaits Machado, who has made three All-Star Games, won two Gold Gloves and finished in the top five in MVP balloting twice in five seasons. He’s one of two generational position players due to hit the free-agent market in November, and some big-market clubs recalibrated their luxury tax threshold status this offseason in anticipation of making a run at him or Bryce Harper. (Those teams know who they are.)
The collateral damage from trade rumors, massive contract projections and a position switch might be enough to rattle a young star, but Machado, 25, exudes the calmness of a player with a pine-tar grip on his destiny. He has been in a good place since that day in the offseason when manager Buck Showalter called and told him he would be moving from third base to his favorite spot on the field.
“I think a lot of people are saying, ‘He’s going over there because he wants more money or more value,'”new 2013 nike nfl jerseys Machado told ESPN.com. “It doesn’t come down to money or more value. I’ve already established myself as a player. I’m worth what I’m worth already. It doesn’t matter if I’m at short or third. The transition over there is because that’s where my heart is. That’s what I do.”