Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado is a superstar; there is no denying this. The 26-year old has hit 30+ home runs in four consecutive seasons. This year, while splitting time between the Baltimore Orioles and Dodgers, he swatted 37 homers and drove in 107 RBI. He is a premier athlete and will be a sought after free agent come December. However, his lack of hustle in the postseason has been something that hasn’t gone unnoticed. In an interview with The Athletic, he was unapologetically honest about his lack of hustle.
“I’ve been thinking about it and it happens every time, there’s no excuse for it honestly,” Machado told Ken Rosenthal. “I’ve never given excuses for not running. I’m not hurt, there’s no excuse but I’ve been the same player. … I’ve been doing this for [seven] years, I’m in The Show for [seven] years, I’ve done the same thing for [seven] years, I’ve been the same player.” he continued. Later on in this interview, he admitted that hindsight is 20/20, and watching film helps him see that. “I look back at the video and I’m like, ‘Woah, what was I doing?’ You know, just the emotions of the game … I’m the type of player that has stayed in the zone, I’m playing and I’m just in the zone.”
His hustle is not the only thing in question after Tuesday’s Game 4 of the NLCS. During the 10th inning of the game, Machado was running out a ground ball and stepped on Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Replays indicate that Machado made deliberate contact with Aguilar. The two exchanged pleasantries and the benches cleared. Three innings later, Machado reached on a broken bat single, and the two hugged it out. Moments later, Machado scored the winning run.
ICYMI: Things got heated between Manny Machado and Jesús Aguilar late in Game 4 of the NLCS. pic.twitter.com/jz6HwCMaYw
— ESPN (@espn) October 17, 2018
“We’re family, you know. Things happen. Everything that happens on the field stays on the field. He’s a great guy, we go way back,” Machado said after the game. “It’s just a friendly game, we’re all trying to win.” Aguilar downplayed the incident as well, “We talked and we’re good,” Aguilar said. “I’ve known Machado since a long time ago and we already talked. I know him really well and it’s already passed. We turned the page; now we have to come and play tomorrow.”
Some Brewers weren’t so forgiving, as Christian Yelich stated the following:
“He’s a player that has a history of those types of instances. One time’s an accident, but over and over and over again – you’re just a dirty player.”
All in all, the recent incidents will not hurt Machado come free agency. Will teams be willing to pour $300+ million still? Some may, and some may not. He should still come close to that figure however, so how exactly does this hurt him? Teams will be a bit more warier however, especially those who are in contention for a World Series.
Will Manny Machado be worth $300+ million in the upcoming #MLB free agency?
— The Athletes Hub (@AthletesHub) October 17, 2018
Photo Credit: Getty Images