WASHINGTON D.C. — It's an annual rite for any All-Star player who may be traded: on the media day ahead of the Midsummer Classic, face a bombardment of questions about that possibility, or in the case of Manny Machado, virtual inevitability. Destinations, desires and so forth.
In the case of Machado, the topics are so compelling because he’s a potential $300 million talent who could swing a pennant race. No one else so impactful is expected to be moved this year’s trade deadline.
Machado actually had a brief lull in that line of questioning Monday with reporters huddled around his table. Quickly, he was asked how the silence felt.
“Amazing,” he said.
He had just finished explaining how much of his life is up in the air.
“You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Machado said. “There’s a lot of things — this game’s already hard enough as it is. To go out there and not know where you’re going to be tomorrow, it’s kind of tough.”
The chances of the Red Sox acquiring Machado are very slim, if not nonexistent.
Reports make a National League landing seem more likely for Machado: the Phillies, Dodgers or Brewers.
But the bottom line is Machado would not fill Boston’s largest need. Relief help has been an area of interest for a while. Now, with Eduardo Rodriguez out until perhaps September, rotation help may be on the menu as well. Even if the Sox did for some reason crave another position player, Machado’s cost in prospects would probably be too high for the Sox’ thin farm system.
But we can play fantasy baseball for a moment. J.D. Martinez, sitting at his own table on Monday, played along.
What would Machado bring, were he to land on the Red Sox?
“I mean any time you get a bat and a player like that in a lineup, I mean — it can’t hurt,” Martinez said, laughing.
Martinez was asked for a sales pitch.
“Come and hit balls off the Monster like he does against us all the time,” Martinez said.
On the chance Machado does end up in the AL East though — the Yankees certainly have the prospect wherewithal, if they so chose — Machado acknowledged that a transition to a rival would be weird.
“Weird? Who knows? Probably so, yeah,” Machado said. “But, you know, everyone knows that it’s just part of the business, part of everything. You just never know where things are going to happen.”
Machado and the Red Sox haven’t always been the best of friends. Asked if he was cool with the Sox after what transpired in 2017, Machado indicated the only time he harbors ill will towards them is on the field.
“Cool with them? Once I step on that field. I’m trying to beat ‘em,” Machado said. “I’m trying to beat ‘em. I’m just trying to go out there and play baseball.”
If Machado has a preference to be in a big market, he did not let on Monday.
“They’re a winning team,” Machado said when asked about the Brewers. “They want to win, they’re serious. They have a good group over there. They made a lot of pushes his offseason and they’re going to continue to do whatever they can to try to get a ring.”
“I mean I’m here to play baseball, I’m not here to sightsee. I’m here to play baseball, do my job and go home and sleep and get ready for tomorrow.”
He’ll do a form of sightseeing in D.C., though. Machado is batting behind Aaron Judge in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
“I’m little like a mini-me going in there after that,” Machado said. “That guy’s a beast. But it’s going to be nice to actually see him from the other side. Be right behind him, see his swing. I know he has a great swing, see him from shortstop and this base.”
Machado made waves in New York because he “liked” a photoshopped image of himself in a Yankees uniform that was posted on Instagram. He told reporters Monday that was a mistake.
But has he thought about playing for the Yanks?
“You know honestly, I really don’t, to be honest,” Machado said. “I think about putting this uniform every day. I can’t think of anything else.
"Once I put on this jersey, I’m an Oriole man."
Not for long, likely.