Ripken: I'd Keep Machado, Build Around Him

It seems inevitable that Baltimore will trade Manny Machado, but Cal Ripken Jr. wouldn't be so quick to part ways with the franchise cornerstone

Tiki and Tierney
July 17, 2018 - 10:06 am

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The Baltimore Orioles will trade Manny Machado. Where, we don’t know. But it’s going to happen.

Orioles fans must be sick to their stomachs, too. Machado is one of the best players in baseball and just turned 26. He should be a franchise cornerstone for the next decade. 

He won’t be.

“Sometimes it’s inevitable that the player wants to go someplace else and play or they want to test their value in the free-agent market and break the ceiling,” Hall of Famer and Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think, though, when you do develop a player like that and you got him really young out of high school and he was good pretty quickly – he moved through the system pretty fast – he got to the big leagues, broke in and was pretty much a star right away, you do want to figure out how you can extend control over him. He’s sort of a lifetime player. You have to make decisions early and kind of get him into the mix early. If you wait on a long-term contract, if you make him go to arbitration, you’re kind of challenging him to find out his worth. 

“He, ideally, is a player you want to hold on to,” Ripken continued. “Even in a rebuilding process, you could rebuild around him. So I’m not sure what happened along the process, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen, whether they trade him and get prospects back. It seems like that’s inevitable at this point. He’s a player that everybody wants, and if you have him, I’d want to keep him.”

Machado is hitting .315 with 24 homers, 65 RBIs and a .387 OBP, but the Orioles (28-69) have the second-worst record in baseball. Ripken believes Baltimore should trade Machado to whoever offers the best deal – even if it’s the Yankees or Red Sox.

“I’m of the opinion you get the best possible deal,” he said. “You should worry about . . . putting your team together and not worrying about how he’ s going to come back to haunt you. So if the best deal came from someone within your division, I think you should take (it). Have your own timetable to win and not worry what’s happening on the other teams. If you put together a good team, you’ll be competitive.”

Ripken, 57, also weighed in on some of baseball’s recent rule changes.

“I thought the catcher’s rule after Buster Posey got hit was a good rule,” he said. “The object is to score runs, not to kill the catcher. Many times you get people coming around third base their sole objective is to take out the catcher.”

Ripken, though, was less of a fan of the Chase Utley Rule.

“I had some mixed feelings on the double play at second base,” he said. “I think sliding in aggressively and trying to upend the second baseman to really break up a double play is a good baseball play. I think in some ways that took a little while for everybody to get used to. Having gone into A second baseman or shortstop 1,000 times and having them come into me 2,000 times, I know what it feels like on both sides of that. But I think everybody is grasping the rule pretty well.”

And while the defensive shift can make for some low-scoring games, Ripken believe it has a place in baseball.

“Talking about outlawing the shift, I think, is not very good of an idea,” he said. “I think people should be able to play anywhere they want on the field. Some of the sabermetrics might have gone overboard, but I think it’s self-correcting after they start to figure out how it works or how well it doesn’t work. But we’re thinking about the game in the right ways and we’re not afraid of change.”