CHICAGO – There are very few players in the history of baseball that have earned the adoration of fan bases of both sides of Chicago having never played a game for either.
No, this isn’t one of the living legends of the game, though there is a hope he might become one of the best players of this particular generation of player. That’s a bit hyperbolic, but it’s safe to say that the fortunes of the Cubs or the White Sox would have a shot to change for the positive if Manny Machado showed up in town.
Now that he has for four days, he’s whipped up a lot of attention among fans who’ve come to watch him at Guaranteed Rate Field as his Orioles face the White Sox.
— Josh Frydman (@Josh_Frydman) May 22, 2018
670 The Score midday host Danny Parkins brought with him a “Chicago Wants Machado” sign that featured the Cubs’ “C” on Monday night, stirring up some emotions from both fan bases in a good-spirited radio stunt.
— Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast (@PinwheelsIvyPod) May 22, 2018
In his second at-bat of the four-game homestand, Machado ripped a long homer to left field of Hector Santiago. The blast only reaffirmed the talent of the shortstop, who is entering the final year of his contract with a Baltimore team that’s likely headed to rebuild mode before or after the 2018 season.
So how does the aforementioned Machado handle this pressure? Frankly, quite well.
— Rick Tarsitano (@RickTarsitano) May 22, 2018
He showed up in a Gucci dark blue cardigan with Tigers, which sells at Neiman Marcus for $1,300. He didn’t give any earth-shattering answers, but he did manage to keep his cool about the awkward situation he finds himself in while visiting Chicago this week.
“It’s out of my hands, I can’t control that,” said Machado of the rumors, some of those involving the Cubs and White Sox at different part of this year. “I have to go out there and win some games and do as much I can for my ballclub.”
Questions continued from the media towards Machado, whose enjoying and incredible start to the season with a .335 average with 15 homers and 43 RBIs. Yet he didn’t crack, answering the inquiries calmly as they continued to flow in.
“Obviously we’ve got to answer and we’ve got to stand in front of the camera,” said Machado of the rumors. “But at the end of the day, none of that matters if you don’t got out there and you don’t win some games for your ballclub, the Orioles, and play well at the same time.”
While the White Sox could eye Machado as a free agent pickup – which would signal a major acceleration of the rebuild process considering the high contract demand – the Cubs would seem a more realistic spot via trade. In fact Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports last week wrote that Machado is the Cubs’ No. 1 trade target before the deadline.
A natural connection between the Cubs is with Albert Almora Jr, who grew up with Machado in South Florida. The Orioles’ shortstop even referred to Almora as a “cousin” even though they are not of blood relations, talking about how the each dreamed of winning the World Series as members of the same team.
They’re rumors that Almora has heard and was asked about on Tuesday before the Cubs’ started their Interleague series with the Indians. In fact, the outfielder was asked if he had done any encouraging to bring Machado to the Cubs. Naturally, he said he didn’t have to
“That’s the great thing about this organization, nothing needs to be said, you just kinda look. Guys want to play for us,” said Almora. “We have a lot of fun here, we have a great group of guys.”
Some on the North side hope there is an addition by the end of this year or before the next.