The Los Angeles Dodgers completed their biggest pre-deadline trade in recent years on Wednesday when they acquired four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for five prospects, one of which was outfielder Yusniel Diaz.
Machado will move into a lineup that is already among the best in baseball and one that leads the National League with 129 home runs on the season. Machado’s 24 homers puts him ahead of Max Muncy (22) for the team lead.
Meanwhile, defensively, the 26-year-old has spent the entire 2018 season playing shortstop for Baltimore. That’s after Machado played third base for the majority of his first six big league seasons.
He will likely remain at shortstop for most of the rest of the season, but according to Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, Machado is willing to and will play some third base as well, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“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.”
Machado won two Gold Gloves and was widely known as one of the best defensive third basemen in all of baseball before making the move to the middle of the diamond. He has not been as good defensively at shortstop, posting -19 defensive runs saved and a -7.7 UZR so far this season.
The Dodgers as a team have a tremendous amount of defensive versatility as almost every position player on the roster can play multiple positions.
One logical defensive alignment with Machado at shortstop could be to move Chris Taylor to second base, Max Muncy to first base and Cody Bellinger to center field. Los Angeles could also move Taylor back out to the outfield if they are confident in Muncy’s defensive ability at second base.
Justin Turner, who has already expressed his excitement about Machado coming to Los Angeles, is currently dealing with an adductor injury. So if he is forced to miss any time, Machado or Muncy would shift over to third.
Regardless of how it all unfolds, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has to be thrilled with the addition of another dynamic talent.
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