Manny Machado returns to Baltimore Tuesday night for the first time since being traded away this past July. Machado and Padres will open a quick two-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards -- fans in San Diego can stream regionally via fuboTV (Try for free). It is his first time in Baltimore as a visiting player.
Shortly after signing his 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres,, saying they "didn't show me a little bit of love." Here are his comments in full:
He keeps a careful tally of signs of respect and disrespect, although he insists they do not motivate him. Still, he glows when he discusses the presentations teams made, the dinners to which executives invited him, the private jets that ferried him to meetings. He saw the July trade that sent him from Baltimore to Los Angeles as a referendum on who wanted him.
"The Dodgers last year, they showed me some love," he says. "The Orioles drafted me. I did a lot for that community, I did a lot for the state, and they didn't show me a little bit of love. It is what it is. But going over to L.A., L.A. giving up a lot of prospects for me, that kind of shows you what I meant to them, which is amazing."
Machado was referring to the Orioles ownership group and the front office, not the fan base, though I can see how fans could read those comments as a shot at them. It's unfortunate, and Machado has caught some grief over it the last few weeks. So much so that on Tuesday night he could hear boos at Camden Yards despite being no worse than the franchise's second best player since Cal Ripken Jr. retired.
Earlier this week Machado spoke to The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli and made sure to clarify his comments earlier this year were directed at the team itself, not the fans. From Ghiroli:
"It was more of ownership and the business side that could have handled things better," Machado said. "I'm disappointed in how it happened. They could have let me know where I was going when they already knew. It's little things like that, where you have to handle four days of not knowing and all these questions (at the All-Star Game) in your face.
"There was a lot of situations (in the past) where we reached out, and we wanted to stay there, and they kept saying, 'Hey, yeah, we're going to call you back. And we're going to talk.' And we're still waiting for that call. That just sums up the whole summary of why I said that (to SI). It had nothing to do with the fans. I loved the fans. It was unbelievable playing in front of those guys every single night and day. They were always there cheering us on. Whether we were sucking or balling out, it didn't matter; they supported us through everything."
The Orioles selected Machado with the third overall pick in the 2010 draft and watched him grow into one of the game's best players during his time with the team. Reports indicate the O's never made a serious attempt to sign him long-term, either when he was a young player early in his career or as he approached free agency. Once an extension became impossible, a trade was the only sensible route for the club.
Machado, 26, is hitting .278/.354/.493 with 16 home runs in his first season with the Padres. He has gone 22 for 46 (.478) with six home runs in his last 10 games.