LOS ANGELES -- The next time you see Manny Machado and Matt Kemp on the field, they won't be mugging for selfies as All-Star opponents. They'll be playing for real, as Dodgers teammates.General manager Farhan Zaidi said Machado will be in the lineup Friday night in Milwaukee when the Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- The next time you see Manny Machado and Matt Kemp on the field, they won't be mugging for selfies as All-Star opponents. They'll be playing for real, as Dodgers teammates.
General manager Farhan Zaidi said Machado will be in the lineup Friday night in Milwaukee when the Dodgers resume play. He's likely to be at shortstop, but with Justin Turner having missed the last four games with a tight adductor, Machado just as easily could be starting at third base.
Although Machado has stated he considers himself a shortstop, he's played both positions, and that's a good thing when you're a Dodger.
"He's going to move around, like a lot of our guys do," said Zaidi. "[Manager] Dave Roberts has already spoken to him about how much we value flexibility. We pointed out that every position player on our roster has played multiple positions. Manny being willing to move between shortstop and third, we believe he can be an asset at both positions. It's less about evaluating Manny at those positions and more about giving [Roberts] options. He understands the way we manage the roster. He's told us he wants to do whatever he can to help this team succeed and win. So, he's on board"
If everybody is ever healthy, Machado figures to start mostly at shortstop, nudging Chris Taylor mostly to second base, sending Player Page for Max Muncy mostly to first base and Cody Bellinger mostly to center field.
Or, Taylor can return to center field, with Muncy or Enrique Hernandez at second and Bellinger at first. Because Taylor, Bellinger and Hernandez are equally adept at the outfield and the infield, the combinations are seemingly endless.
Taylor opened the season as the starting center fielder. He became the starting shortstop when Corey Seager was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery. Indirectly, that led to the trade for Machado, which means another move for Taylor.
"Our plan is for [Taylor] to regularly get in the lineup, probably a mix of some shortstop and some second base, center field, maybe the corner outfield," said Zaidi. "He's shown over the last year and a half how important he is to our lineup."
Machado has batted primarily third for the Orioles this year, with a few games at second and he figures to be in one or the other spot for the Dodgers so he'll bat in the first inning. Seager generally batted second.
"Even though our offense has been pretty good, any time you have a chance to put an impact bat in the middle of the lineup, it can't help but look even better," Zaidi said. "He hasn't struck out much. Some of the fluctuations we've had offensively, having a consistent offensive force like Manny Machado in the middle, hopefully, can smooth those things over."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.