Machado's focus in pivotal year amazes Jones

Orioles shortstop in top form while facing free agency, trade buzz

June 10th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Orioles shortstop Manny Machado has made it clear he doesn't want to talk about his impending free-agent status. However, teammate is not afraid to say how valuable Machado is to the Orioles.

Entering Sunday, Machado was hitting .311 with 18 home runs, 50 RBIs and a .975 OPS -- leading the Orioles in each statistic.

"He is the best player on our team, and that's not even arguable. That's a fact," Jones said recently. "The talent that this man has is tremendous. I've seen him go from a 20-year-old to almost a 26-year-old man who is entering uncharted territories as the Trade Deadline and free agency [approaches]. He comes in ready to go. He has passion about this game. He plays hard and wants to win, and he rakes."

Asked how Machado is able to eliminate the noise surrounding free agency and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and still produce on the field, Jones said, "That's a question I don't have the answer to because that's him. However he handles it personally is how he handles it. But whatever he is doing, he is doing it great."

Will Machado be traded by the Deadline? Or will he leave the Orioles via free agency? Jones declined to answer those questions.

"The experts are the ones that sit up there and they know everything," Jones said. "[The players] are the ones that actually do everything. I'll leave that to the front office."