The Manny Machado conundrum

I wanted to wait until the end of the season to write about Manny Machado but last nights game showed why you can love and hate Manny Machado. In one 13 inning game, he showed off all his skill levels. He helped win the game with his single and speed in the 13th. He showed off his bizarre mental approach to the game when he purposely clipped Jesus Aguilar as he crossed 1st base and got into a passive shouting match with him about it. Yes, I said passive, not passionate.  He showed off his how he refuses to run out every play that isn’t guaranteed to be a hit,  half ass running to 1st. Chad might have been on point with this tweet right after the Aguilar incident.

Many of Manny’s skills were known to me, the lack of a hustle ticker was not. He knows it, and to his credit he owns it. I just want to add the hustle ticker is not some Pollyanna wish for the days of Pete Rose.  Manny Machado is a fast enough baseball player that any ball he hits can potentially turn into being on base or an extra base. I never cared much if Adrian Gonzalez or Eric Karros didn’t hustle on their ground balls, even if the fielder bobbled the ball they would still throw the turtles out. Manny may not be a rabbit but he’s still fast enough that any infield bobble turns an out into a base runner.

I never watched much Manny Machado because he played for the Orioles and there just wasn’t much reason to watch the Orioles. I saw his highlights on the various baseball highlight stations, I read about his exploits both with the glove, the bat, and the head shakers. He was without a doubt one of the great young talents in all of baseball but he did seem to have some issues with the mental aspect of the game. I chalked that up to old players turned analysts who will criticize anything that is not part of the game they played in.

When the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado I was ecstatic to add him to the team. I couldn’t wait to watch him play for the Dodgers and help them reach the postseason once again. I’m still ecstatic the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado, they aren’t in the postseason if they don’t.

Power/Speed/Glove, he has it all, and he has put all of those skills on display for the Dodgers. His power is elite, his arm is elite (oh my, those throws), and his speed when he chooses to use it, is also a dangerous weapon.

Even with all that, watching Manny Machado play baseball is one of the closest things I’ve had to a love/hate relationship with a Dodger since Manny Ramirez.  For the most part, I don’t enjoy watching Manny Machado play baseball, but damn when he brings it, he really brings it. Or maybe it is the opposite? I do enjoy watching Manny Machado play baseball but when it doesn’t bring it, he really doesn’t bring it. To be honest I’m still grappling with which one is true or maybe they both are?

I know that Manny Machado is a win plus ball player but the aesthetics do matter to me.

Why am I annoyed when I watch Manny jog on a fly to the track that he felt was a home run, jog to 1st base, create controversy over his antics when on the basepaths, create conflict when none existed except in his own mind?  I know these are not big deals when it comes to winning, the big deals are the key hits, the plays, the knowing when to run hard when it matters.

I feel confident that the Manny Machado style of play will limit his injuries while playing baseball, which I can’t say about Mike Trout who seems destined to have his career curtailed by his all-out play.  Mike Trout is much more fun to watch play baseball than Manny Machado, but it is very possible that Manny Machado knows what he is talking about. Manny has played over 150 games for four years in a row. Mike has been limited to 114 and 140 games his last two years.

No matter how the season plays itself out, even if Manny wins the World Series MVP, I will wish Machado nothing but the best as he plays the rest of his career somewhere outside of Chavez Ravine.

I can say this because we still have Corey Seager in our back pocket for a long long time.

 

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