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A free agent in 2018, what does Manny Machado's future look like?

A free agent in 2018, what does Manny Machado's future look like?

Manny Machado is arguably one of the best third basemen in the league.

At the tender age of 24, he has won two Gold Gloves and has been voted to three All-Star games. On average, he’s hitting 36 homers and 91 RBIs and is continuing to add to his resume. He hit a crucial home run Friday night against the Yankees and stole a base hit from Blue Jay's Devon Travis Opening Day on an insane catch. He will become a free agent in 2018 and is expected to make at least $300 million, but the third baseman told reporter's he's trying to live in the moment. 

“My future is to play baseball. If I don’t play baseball, I’m not going to do anything, so if I don’t go out there and produce today, I might not have an opportunity to get [a big contract],” Machado said. “So I don’t think that far along. I just try to stay in the moment and stay pitch by pitch. That’s why baseball’s a beauty, because if you start thinking ahead or you start thinking about this, that’s when you go into all these slumps.

Machado showed us last season that he is not just capable of playing third base, but can also cover shortstop. During the 2016 season, Machado played 45 games at shortstop while J.J. Hardy was out with a fractured left foot. This scenario could play out again as Hardy’s contract is up in 2017 and the O’s would have to pay him his $14 million option to keep him on the roster. Machado told FOX Sports that playing shortstop has been on his mind. 

“It’s always been there, I’m not going to lie. It’s always been there. . . I played a little bit there (last year). That was fun. I trained this year to play there just in case anything happened. I wasn’t ready last year to do it. It kind of took a toll on my body. But I came prepared this year for anything. It’s there. [But] I’ve made myself who I am playing third base. Everything I’ve done has been third base. I’ve won my Gold Gloves. I’ve done my thing over there, so why change? That’s the big question people always ask: ‘Why do you want to change when you’re the player who you are now?’ I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.”

And there is no question that his fellow teammates understand the type of player they have on their team.

“You always wonder what it would feel like to play with one of the greatest of all time — say, a Ken Griffey Jr,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis says. “I catch myself sometimes saying, ‘Am I in the same infield as one of the all-time great third basemen?'”

Davis went on to say,

“Some of the plays he makes, you can’t even practice ’em. Who practices catching groundballs in the dirt in foul territory and throwing guys out? He has raised the bar for our infield. And he has set the bar so high for himself, he’s expected to make those plays.”

Machado's diverse skill set could come in handy come 2018. Being able to play both positions will make him more marketable to other teams and gives him the opportunity to play whichever position he feels stronger at depending on his age. For Machado, playing his best baseball right now is what's important to him. 

“I don’t set expectations. I’d just like to stay healthy and leave it all on the field. That’s the only thing we can control at the end of the day. We put our hard work in in the offseason and during the year to do the things that we get paid to do so I just don’t expect anything.”

 MORE ORIOLES: YANKEES HAND O'S FIRST LOSS OF THE SEASON 

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

MORE NATS: WALK-OFF FOR THE NATS, COURTESY OF DE AZA

NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0