Athletics

Athletics

Let's be clear right from the start: The A's aren't signing Manny Machado. His projected $300 million-plus contract doesn't quite fit into Oakland's budget.

The question we want to examine is whether he'd really even improve the team.

There's no denying Machado's talent. The free agent third baseman/shortstop is one of the best all-around players in baseball. He already has been in four All-Star Games at the young age of 25, with a career slash line of .282/.335/.487. Last season, he tallied 37 home runs and 107 RBI with a .905 OPS.

But let's not forget, the A's have a pretty good third baseman and shortstop of their own. Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien form arguably the best defensive duo of any left side of the infield, and they can both swing the bat pretty well, too.

Chapman, 25, slashed .278/.356/.508 in his first full season, belting 24 home runs, 42 doubles and 68 RBI. Semien, 28, added 15 homers and 70 RBI after blasting a career-high 27 round-trippers two years ago.

Most importantly, the A's have a unique chemistry that was vital to their success last season. Machado is far from the most well-liked guy in the league, and adding him could hurt the clubhouse atmosphere.

Part of what makes the A's so special is that no one has an ego. Even veteran stars such as Khris Davis and Jed Lowrie carry a team-first mentality and don't care about the spotlight.

Machado, on the other hand, has openly admitted to not hustling in playoff games, and he has pulled some questionable -- if not dirty -- maneuvers on the base path. He also doesn't have the greatest history with the A's.

 

To reiterate, Machado unquestionably is a special talent. There's a reason he'll likely get more than $300 million in free agency. But baseball is a funny game. Individual numbers don't always translate to team success.

Oakland has something special in its clubhouse, and there is no reason to mess with that. Chapman and Semien have earned the right to hold down their side of the infield for years to come.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Wednesday is dedicated to free agent infielder Manny Machado.
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