As a minor leaguer Manny Machado was an elite shortstop prospect, but because the Orioles had J.J. Hardy there when he arrived in 2012 they shifted Machado to third base and he’s stayed there ever since.
Machado has developed into an MVP-caliber third baseman and not surprisingly his excellent defense there has been a huge part of his overall value, but tonight for the first time in his career the Orioles are starting him at shortstop.
Hardy was placed on the disabled list with a groin injury last week and manager Buck Showalter has decided he’d rather use Machado at a position he hasn’t played since 2012 than continue to use Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish at shortstop fill-ins. Or at least that’s the case for one night.
Machado showing that he can be an above-average defensive shortstop would increase his already massive long-term value even further, although with Hardy signed through 2017 it’s likely just a short-term fix for the Orioles unless it leads to an offseason trade.