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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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Orioles' Adley Rutschman is one step closer to moving from face of the rebuild to face of the franchise

Orioles' Adley Rutschman is one step closer to moving from face of the rebuild to face of the franchise

Adley Rutschman is one step closer to playing for the Orioles. Shout it from the rooftops, Baltimore.

The top overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft began his career with the organization with a brief stint in the Gulf Coast League before quickly heading to Aberdeen. After a few weeks with the short-season affiliate, Rutschman finds himself on the move again.

His latest promotion will take his talents to Delmarva, to join a record-setting Shorebirds squad gearing up for a long postseason run.

Rutschman’s final game with the Ironbirds was fitting: a 5-for-5 night in which he was just a double shy of the cycle, capped off by a beautiful moment with a young fan. His next challenge will come in the form of the playoffs.

In Delmarva, Rutschman will experience postseason baseball as a professional for the first time, alongside many teammates who might find themselves in Baltimore with the catcher one day. Grayson Rodriguez stands out as the Orioles’ second-best prospect, behind only Rutschman himself, and as a pitcher, he’ll work with the top pick more closely than others.

It’s an exciting pair of players for fans to watch, especially when the two form the battery in the same game. The future of the Orioles will never be more obvious than those nights.

Many franchises emphasize the value of a young core not just learning to win, but learning to do it together. Rutschman will certainly have that chance to close out 2019.

It’s also exciting for Orioles fans just to see how quickly Rutschman has adapted to the professional game. Plenty of highly-touted prospects across the league struggled in their first exposure to professional pitching, yet Rutschman has handled every step of the way with aplomb.

In all likelihood, Rutschman’s stop in Delmarva will be a short one as well. The postseason begins in early September, and by 2020 the catcher will almost certainly be in either Frederick or Bowie as he continues to move up the minor league ladder.

Every step will bring more and more enthusiasm as Rutschman moves from the face of the rebuild to face of the franchise. The front office is keen on letting him experience every level of the organization, but their patience hasn’t dampened the optimism of the fans.

Adley Rutschman has already starred for Aberdeen, and one day he’ll star for the Orioles. For the next few weeks, however, the O’s will be plenty happy seeing him star in the middle of a Delmarva playoff run.

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Former Orioles players who have played in past Little League World Series

Former Orioles players who have played in past Little League World Series

Loudoun South will be competing in the Little League World Series Wednesday in Williamsport.

Let's take a look at the two former Orioles that once took part in the iconic tournament.

Jonathan Schoop, 2B

The former Orioles' star starred for Curacao's 2004 LLWS championship team. Schoop handled the pressure in his youth and is a model for kids today on what can be achieved with hard work. He delivered the go-ahead RBI in International play that sent Curacao to Williamsport, Pa., then earned a save in the final game against the U.S. team from California by recording the final two outs.

Boog Powell, 1B

Before he started his famous barbecue on Eutaw Street, Powell starred as a pitcher for the 1954 LLWS team from Florida. The team from New York that ultimately defeated Powell's squad featured former major leaguer, Jim Barbieri. Ironically Barbieri appeared as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series against Powell and the Baltimore Orioles.

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