WASHINGTON -- New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Anaheim, Chicago. Manny Machado is used to drawing a crowd in nearly every city the Orioles visit this year. But even among a room full of All-Stars on Monday afternoon at Nationals Park, the 26-year-old shortstop caused a commotion.Machado, the prize chip in advance
WASHINGTON -- New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Anaheim, Chicago. Manny Machado is used to drawing a crowd in nearly every city the Orioles visit this year. But even among a room full of All-Stars on Monday afternoon at Nationals Park, the 26-year-old shortstop caused a commotion.
Machado, the prize chip in advance of this year's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, drew the largest crowd during media availability, a nonstop 40-minute barrage where he was peppered on everything from Milwaukee nightlife to the possibility of returning to third base.
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"I'd like to be involved a little more," Machado said of the trade process, which -- by most accounts -- looks like it's reaching a crescendo. "But that's the kind of thing that ownership and the front office are in charge of. It's all part of the business side of it. We play baseball and the business side stays on that side. It's just how things are."
Machado, voted the American League's starting shortstop in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, wants to take the next two days to celebrate where he is right now. And appreciate, perhaps for the last time, the chance to represent the city of Baltimore.
"It crossed my mind," Machado said of the possibility that he could have been wearing a different uniform for the Midsummer Classic. "A lot of trade rumors, it kind of did cross my mind if I was going to be able to put on this jersey. But I'm here, I love putting on this jersey, I've been putting it on for the last eight years. Whether it's the last time I put it on or not, it's going to be something special."
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Machado, who has 24 homers and 65 RBIs for the last-place Orioles, was removed from Sunday's 6-5 first-half finale due to field conditions following a rain delay. That move was enough to warrant more rumors that the O's aren't just having idle discussions. They are in aggressive pursuit of swinging a deal for the superstar, who was the third overall pick in the 2010 Draft and will be a free agent at season's end.
With more than a half-dozen teams interested, the latest top trio is the Dodgers, Phillies and Brewers. Despite reports to the contrary, there is no deal in place for Machado, three separate sources confirmed Monday evening to MLB.com.
Machado doesn't actively seek out the rumors. But they're everywhere. On the scroll of the baseball game he flipped on to watch. At his locker pregame. Even teammates have had their fun, jokingly telling Machado he had been traded to the Giants. The Tokyo Giants.
"It's been a long time," Machado acknowledged of the trade rumors that have dogged him since the Orioles announced they were listening to offers this offseason.
"The [uncertainy is the] worst. The worst. You just don't know what's going to happen. This game's already hard enough as it is, and to go out there and not know where you're going to be at tomorrow is kind of tough."
Machado reiterated on Monday that he wants to remain at shortstop, while also acknowledging he doesn't have a say in where he's traded and if his new team wants him to finish out the year at third. Drafted as a shortstop, Machado won two Gold Gloves -- including a Platinum Glove Award -- as a third baseman, a position he moved to after just a handful of games at Double-A.
"Obviously, whoever trades for me, or whenever that decision comes, it's going to be out of my control. Everyone knows my heart is at shortstop," Machado said. "I truly believe I can continue to play there for the rest of my career. At the end of the day, I have no choice [in a trade]."
But he will in free agency. Machado is expected to command a record deal this offseason, as he's almost assured to test free agency regardless of where he ends the season. If he does have a preference of where he wants to sign, Machado wasn't willing to divulge it to the huge crowd gathered on Monday.
"I'm trying to enjoy myself and not thinking about anything else but going out there onto the field and trying to be the best player I can," Machado said in advance of his second career All-Star Game. "I worked hard [this season], put something on my mind that I wanted to be the best shortstop I could possibly be. To see the fans vote for me and to see all the hard work I've put into it, it's a different feeling."
While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.