Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles can afford to wait for Manny Machado


The buzz is beginning to build around the imminent return of budding superstar third baseman Manny Machado. He’s set to begin a rehab assignment in the next week and his return to the Baltimore Orioles is finally on the horizon, after he suffered that horrific leg injury at the tail end of last season.

Luckily, the Orioles happen to be in a fortunate position where they don’t have to rush Machado. Not that you’d want to rush a young star back from a serious injury to begin with. But the Orioles have the luxury of being able to practice patience in regard to the return of Machado, as their offense and defense have both seen quality starts to the year.

Not that that comes as any surprise. This was an Orioles team that was expected to be among the league’s best before the season began, and get even stronger when Manny Machado returned to the lineup. They’re currently second in the league in batting average and have scored 102 runs thus far, good for sixth in the league.

They’re getting some outstanding individual performances across the board, including a torrid start from catcher Matt Wieters who is rounding back into form after a down year in 2013, and new addition Nelson Cruz, who is doing what he’s always done with the power bat. Guys like Jonathan Schoop have been chipping in as well to help mitigate the effect of the loss of Machado’s bat in the lineup.

The O’s also boast a .990 fielding percentage, which is .001 away from being tops in the league. They’ve only committed eight errors on the season, which is just one away from being the best figure in the league. When Machado comes back, not only will the O’s continue to thrive on defense, but that Defensive Efficiency Ratio that currently resides in the middle of the pack should receive quite a boost.

What their early success in that regard means is that the Orioles are in a position where they can wait on Machado, both to return from injury and to return to form once he does return. Patience is the key here, and the Orioles, who are second in the American League East at 11-10, are in a very good position in that they’re not only off to a solid start with the bats and with the gloves, they’re getting a player back who is going to take them to another level when he does make his triumphant return to the lineup.

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