Is Manny Machado going to be suspended? That is just one of the questions in the mind of the Baltimore Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette. Apparently there’s another question that Duquette is contemplating,”should Manny Machado be demoted to the minors?”
Regarding sending Machado to the minors, Duqutte told Fox Sports on Tuesday morning,
“That’s always an option. The guy distinguished himself in the big leagues last year. We’d much rather see him develop his skills here. But that’s always an option.”
Wow. Nobody really thought that would be an option. There was talk of it amongst fans on the internet but no one believed that a the 2013 Gold Glove Award winner would actually be sent down to the minor leagues.
Yet at the same time it makes sense. The third baseman is only 21-years old, and as he proved over the weekend in the Orioles’ series against the Oakland A’s, his maturity is far below that of a 21-year old professional. Maybe he does need some time in the minors.
Being demoted could humble his “prima donna” attitude, maybe remove his sense of entitlement. Machado was fast-tracked through the minor leagues after all. Last season at age 20 he was heralded a future superstar. Could that have been too much for a young kid? It would certainly help explain his part of his attitude problem.
Beyond his actions and his attitude however are his offensive numbers. Machado admitted Monday to being “frustrated” during his public apology for his behavior. He didn’t specify why, but it’s not hard to guess the cause of his frustration. Machado is batting just .229 with four home runs and 11 RBI. Keep in mind that Machado did miss the first month of the season rehabbing from a knee injury he sustained on September 23 of last year.
Before injuring his knee, Machado had played in 156 games batting .283 with 14 home runs, 71 RBI and a .746 OPS. Those numbers are vastly different from what he has done so far this season and Machado insists that his knee is not a problem.
Machado has been swinging at a higher percentage of pitches that are outside the strike zone as well as hitting more ground balls than line drives. Last season he had 51 doubles. So far in 2014 Machado has three. He’s not hitting line drives keeping him well behind the pace to match his doubles total from 2013.
In Monday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox Machado fell behind 0-2 in three of his at-bats. He finished the game having gone 0-4 with two strikeouts.
Maybe some time in the minors is just what Machado needs to straighten everything out. In the meantime the Orioles can play Ryan Flaherty at third and Jonathan Schoop at second, as well as call up Steve Lombardozzi who was demoted when Machado was activated from the disabled list. Lombardozzi is currently hitting .307 at Triple-A Norfolk.
It worked while Machado was out, it could work again. It is definitely, as Duquette said, “an option.”