The Orioles signed Manny Machado to a one-year, $519,000 contract renewal on Monday — standard operating procedure for a pre-arbitration player.
The salary is $19,000 more than the major league minimum and Machado also gets a $100,000 bonus for winning the 2013 Platinum Glove Award in the American League. But he is not celebrating.
According to beat writer Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the young third baseman called the salary “disappointing” in a chat with reporters on Monday evening in camp. “I’d love to be an Oriole forever,” Machado continued. “I love the organization, I love the fans here. I love everything about this, and putting the uniform on every day. I just want to be treated fairly. That’s it.”
Mike Trout’s agent expressed a similar feeling of frustration last March when his client was renewed for just $510,000 by the Angels. But this is the agreed-upon system and it does reward players eventually.
Trout will be eligible for salary arbitration next winter. Machado becomes eligible heading into 2016.
Macahdo, 21, batted .283/.314/.432 with 51 doubles, 14 home runs, and 71 RBI in 156 games last season for Baltimore. He is hoping to be fully recovered from October knee surgery by Opening Day.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.