Machado was raised by his mother and his uncle, Geovanny Brito.
By the time he was 5 years old, the game had crawled up inside Manny. Every day after school in Hialeah, Florida, he spent hours throwing a tennis ball against a wall outside the house he shared with his mother, older sister and his Dominican-born grandfather.
He would rob fictitious home runs at the gate on the side of the garage. Around 4:30 every day, he would walk across the street to his aunt and uncle's house to wait for Geovanny Brito to pull into the driveway after work. Whenever Uncle Gio got home, almost always between 5 and 5:30, he couldn't get both feet out of his car before he was being handed his glove and greeted with the words, "Here you go, boss. Let's go get it."
By the time Manny turned 9, he and Uncle Gio would walk to a neighborhood field where Machado stood with his back to the outfield fence while his uncle hit him line drives and grounders.
"Bullets from 10 feet away," Machado says, shaking his head.
Manny grew up in a Latin neighborhood with Latin friends, and his first team, in what he calls a low-budget travel ball, played together for several years while wearing T shits with a number on the back and "Chiefs" on the front.
"We thought we were big leaguers with our Big League Chew gum, the eye-black—we had flair," Machado says. "We liked to show emotion, and a lot of people don't like that."
By the time Machado got to high school in 2006, he was compared with another famous Dominican-Miamian, Alex Rodriguez. Partly because of his reputation, Manny began working out at 17 with Univ. of Miami players, including Yonder Alonso, whose sister, Yainee, would eventually become Machado's wife. (Tim Keown - ESPN the Mag - 6/26/2017)
In 2010, Machado's senior year at Brito High School in Miami, he committed to Florida International University on a baseball scholarship. He was graduating with a 3.0 grade point average and was interested in studying sports management.
In 2009, he made first-team All-State after hitting .636 with 8 homers and 53 RBI. In 2010, he then hit .639 (55-for-86) with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs in his senior season for Brito.
In 2010, Manny got drafted by the Orioles (see Transactions below).
In 2011, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Machado the #1 prospect in the Orioles organization. In 2012, he was the #2 O's prospect, behind only RHP Dylan Bundy.
Manny was born in Miami, and is of Dominican descent. He is tall and lanky, attracting lots of A-Rod comparisons. Interestingly, Machado's favorite player while growing up was Alex Rodriguez. And now, during off-seasons, Manny works out with the Yankee superstar on occasion.
Machado's parents are divorced, and he says he rarely speaks to his father. But he is close to his mother. He also has an older sister.
Manny has outstanding instincts. He does little things that come natural to him because of his awareness on the field.
Machado feels like he was born to play baseball. He loves to be on the field. He works hard and makes the game look easy. He is mature. The way he carries himself, it's like an extra pair of eyes, an extra coach out there.
He is a big, strong athlete who can do about anything on the field.
Manny has size 13 feet. He is like a puppy with huge paws. You know he is going to grow into a big dog.
Rosa Nunez still doesn't, still can't believe this is real. Manny's mother is one of six family members who left their Miami area home at 9:30 a.m. on April 2, 2013. They arrived just in time for the Orioles' season-opening 3:10 p.m. game, is sitting at Tropicana Field, watching closely as her 20-year-old son singles off Rays' ace David Price.
"This is a dream," Nunez says from her perch a section up above the third-base line, as she watches her son play in his first career Opening Day game. "And if it is, then don't wake me up. It's just unbelievable." Nunez, a single parent, was in the stands along with the rest of Machado's support team, a group that includes his uncle, Gio Brito, the only coach Machado had throughout his younger years.
An only child, Machado would always be across the street at his uncle's, waiting for Brito to get home so they could play baseball. He would purposely sit out in the front of his home, ensuring Brito parked in the back and the driveway was clear for a little long toss. That was the routine, Monday through Sunday, and it never got old, changing only when Machado was old enough to start playing in games and the wait turned into long car rides from tournament to tournament.
"It is a family affair," Machado said of the road to his first Opening Day. "It just reminds me of how we used to travel up here [to the Tampa Bay area], St. Augustine and Georgia and all the places we went to as a family. And it paid off in the end. They are coming to see me here, on the big stage—the biggest stage of baseball there is. So it just brings back some memories."
There was one time that a 9-year-old Machado was playing in a tournament near Vero Beach, Fla., when he informed Coach Brito he had to leave the game; he was going to be sick. Seconds later, Machado was vomiting. And with no towels handy, Nunez had him take off his socks to clean up the mess. Immediately after, Machado was begging to get back in the game.
"He just always wanted to be out there," Nunez said. "He never wanted to sit on the sidelines or watch other people. All he ever wanted to do was be out there, playing baseball."
Sure enough, Machado went back on the field—sockless. And the youngster has brought the same fire to the Orioles since being promoted from Double-A Bowie. The 31st player in club history to debut before his 21st birthday, Machado hit a pair of homers and a triple in his first two games, and he went on to hit .262 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 51 regular season games.
"It's abnormal," Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson said of Machado's maturity. "In all the years I've been developing players, it's rare to see a kid who is not in awe of everything, but he respects everything. It's a good mix. He feels he belongs. But he respects the level, he respects the people and tries to honor the people who came before him."
It was Machado's late grandfather, Francisco Nunez, who instilled that kind of attitude in him, preaching the importance of staying humble and working on his bunting every evening when Machado would come home and rush in to relay the game's events. Nunez, who passed away on Dec. 24, 2009, never got to see Machado get drafted, but his lessons still resonate with the young infielder.
"We always used to watch Opening Day, every year, when he was around in the house," said Machado, who traces the initials "F.N." into the infield dirt before the start of every game. "And now to be on the Opening Day roster, obviously he's not here to watch me, but he's going to be up there watching me from where he watches me every day." (Brittany Ghiroli-MLB.com-4/02/13)
Machado helped ease the transition with his old-school sensibilities. He learned the value of hard work and a diligent approach from his mother, Rosa Nunez, and the benefits of keeping his mouth shut from his older sister and her circle of friends. In February 2013, Machado confirmed that he is engaged to be married to Yainee Alonso, sister of San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso.
His teammates enjoy having him around for more than his range factor. Nate McLouth, who is fluent in Spanish, recently walked past Machado's locker and jokingly described him as "feo"—Spanish for "ugly." For a kid who received a $5 million bonus in the draft, Machado is refreshingly blue-collar. As Adam Jones observed, some of Machado's best defensive plays come when he's 0-for-4 or 0-for-5 at the plate. Rather than taking a bad day at the plate into the field with him, he uses it as motivation to contribute in other ways.
"He gets it," Adam Jones said. "If I'm talking, he shuts up. He understands the game and his role, and he understands that some people have been here longer. He's never tried to step on anybody's toes. He listens. He asks questions. He just minds his business and shows up every day ready to play." With part of his draft money, Manny bought his mom a house, and he bought himself a car.
“Not only is he extremely talented, he has no fear of any situation and a great feel for the game,” Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth told FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks of Machado’s “alert eyes,” comparing him to a basketball player who, once or twice a game, hangs back after a basket and steals the in-bounds pass for another quick score.
During the 2012 offseason, Machado worked hard to make sure 2013 would be better. His regimen included honing his ping pong skills, which goes a long way toward explaining his innate attention to detail.
Manny likes strolling through clubhouse, proudly wearing his "Hakuna Machado" T-shirt.
Machado has helped ease the transition with his old-school sensibilities. He learned the value of hard work and a diligent approach from his mother, Rosa Nunez, and the benefits of keeping his mouth shut from his older sister and her circle of friends.
In February 2013, Machado confirmed that he is engaged to be married to Yainee Alonso, the sister of Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso. Yonder is a longtime friend of Manny's.
November 2014: Machado married his longtime girlfriend Yainee Alonso in a castle close to Paris.
Marriage in the 2014 offseason helped Machado. "I have no distractions. You just go out there and play. And then you go home to a beautiful wife, a person you can talk to, a good friend. I go home and it's amazing. I have my dog waiting for me at the door, Kobe—that's for Kobe Bryant. It's awesome coming home to him—he loves me no matter what. I can go 0-for-4 and he is going to love me. He's going to smile, jump on me. He's always happy and excited to see me."
June 10, 2014: MLB suspended Machado for five games and fined him an undisclosed amount two days after Machado incited a benches-clearing incident when he threw his bat in apparent retaliation for being thrown at by Oakland reliever Fernando Abad. Manny appealed the suspension.
Abad also was fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at Machado, MLB announced.
The June 8 incident was the culmination of an eventful weekend for Machado, who also was involved in an altercation when he didn't like the force of the tag put on him by Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson. The two had to be separated. One day later, Machado twice hit Oakland catcher Derek Norris in the head with backswings.
April 2016: Machado decided play for the Dominican Republic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Manny doesn't talk a whole lot. "I'm pretty low-key. I keep to myself. There's days that I don't talk, and people can take that the wrong way sometimes. So, I'm just trying to get to know everybody, every single teammate—make a point to talk to them and see what they like and what they like to do," Machado said. (2016)
Manny grew up a big fan of Alex Rodriguez. "Growing up in Miami, it was all about A-Rod. He was a Miami guy, so us Miami people stick with our Miami people," Machado said. "Alex was just one of those guys I always looked up to.
"A funny story: I didn't have his number. I always went through somebody. I knew that's close to him. So that person tole me, 'Hey, Alex wants me to give you his number, so just shoot him a text.' So I had his number for a couple of weeks before I could even try to text him. I was like, 'What am I going to say to him?' Hey, what's up, Alex, this is Manny'? It's awkward! It's A-Rod. He's one of the best players that has ever played this game. He's like a big brother to me, just helping me out with baseball and personal stuff. I consider him a friend."
Tell me about the Miami boys.
"We call ourselves the 305 Boys. It's a tight group: me, Jon Jay, Yonder Alonso, Gaby Sanchez and we have added a couple of minor league players who work out with us—we're smoothing them into the crew. But you got to be a true 305—from the Coral Gables, the Southwest and the Hialeahs," Machado said.
What's the perfect day in Miami for the 305 Boys in the offseason?
"Let's see, wake up about 6:30 a.m. We all go together to the gym. Then we go hit. We throw at the facility where we work out," Manny said. "Then we go to work with our boy Pete Suare at Phenoms Baseball, and we do all our tee stuff there. After that we might go have some lunch at 3 Chefs, a little Cuban spot—some chicken and rice with beans and some curry sauce or some garlic cilantro sauce.
"Then we go to out new spot, the new house I am, building in Coral Gables, or to Jon Jay's house, which is a boy's dream—he has every toy possible there. We'll Jet Ski. We like to paddleboard. We might play some dominoes. Then for dinner, we're low-key. Sometimes we got to Prime 112, Drunken Dragon is one of our favorite spots, or Hillstone. There are a couple of more spots, but I can't give you names because it's for the 305 Boys—a secret." (Marley Rivera - ESPN the Magazine - 5/09/16)
In June 2014, Manny hosted the very first Manny Machado Celebrity Base-BOWL Tournament to benefit Baltimore City Recreation and Parks' Play Baseball summer program.
"I couldn't be more excited to host this event and give back to the Baltimore community," said Machado. "Having the opportunity to be involved with a great organization like the Baltimore City Foundation is huge. I'm excited for it and I know my teammates will be looking forward to it as well.
"Baltimore is a baseball town and our Play Baseball League is essential to keeping kids active and creating lifelong fans of the sport," said director of Baltimore City Recreation and Parks Ernest Burkeen. "We are glad to have Manny's support for this program and look forward to a long and positive relationship."
This event consisted of two games at seven frames each, made up with teams of five bowlers. Each team will be paired up with a celebrity participant. Several athletes from the local sports community are expected to be attendance. (Ghiroli - mlb.com - 5/28/14)
Zoey Tinsley is a 10-year-old who got a chance to bowl with the Orioles. The fourth grader said she brought one simple goal to the event. "I want to teach them how to make strikes," she said with laugh.
Strikes and spares were the subjects of conversation instead of bats and balls when a group of local children connected with the Orioles for the third annual Manny Machado Celebrity Base-BOWL Tournament at Mustang Alleys, a few minutes from Camden Yards. The event benefits the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks' Play Baseball program, and Machado enjoys hosting it with his wife, Yainee.
"We're excited for the kids to come out, and we're excited to raise some money," Machado said. "We can just come out here and enjoy ourselves. This is the best part of the day right here. We're excited for everyone that's come out here."
Many of Machado's teammates, along with manager Buck Showalter, attended the event after the Orioles lost to the Tigers, 6-5. The O's seemed to have put the defeat behind them, though, as plenty of smiles all could be seen as children and players mingled and bowled with ease.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expressed her appreciation for the event during a brief talk to the crowd at the start. Rawlings-Blake discussed how the tournament helps children in different ways, especially since the tournament has raised about $165,000 over the past two years.
"With efforts like this this evening, we are making sure that young people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to play get to learn what you're learning and what you're passing down about the sportsmanship and all of the life skills that you get from playing baseball," Rawlings-Blake said.
Showalter said that he's glad to see his players contributing to the community. "I'm real proud of Manny," Showalter said. "You can tell it means a lot to him and his wife. It's one thing to talk about [helping in the community]. A lot of people talk about it, but they don't back it up." (Seidel - MLB.com - 5/16/16)
June 9, 2016: Machado said that he will appeal a four-game suspension for his part in a June 7 bench-clearing brawl with the Royals. He received his suspension for charging the mound and fighting after being hit by a pitch from Yordano Ventura, who received a nine-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Machado and fighting.
In 2016, Manny was named the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole. The award, voted on by members of the local media, comes at the culmination of an impressive 162-game season for Machado.
"I mean, it's always an honor when you get an award. It's something that is humbling, something I see it more as a team thing. The team gave me an opportunity to put up the numbers that I have and have the great season that we've all had," Machado said.
"Knowing that it's got to go to someone, but I think it should go to everyone on this team, ballclub. Because at the end of the day we all battled out there. If it wasn't for each other, none of us would have the opportunity that we have now and the year we've been having so far." (Ghiroli - MLB.com - 9/23/16)
In 2014, Machado got married to Yainee Alonso, his girlfriend, whose older brother is A's first baseman Yonder Alonso. Machado and Yonder are old friends. In June 2016, Yonder played a rare game at third base for the Padres—so he borrowed a glove from Machado.
And Alonso has his brother-in-law's back—especially when Machado was getting overlooked in the "Trout vs. Harper" debates a few years ago. "It's wrong; it's just wrong," Yonder said in a 2013 interview with USA Today. "I hate that. It's not right. You're not going to compare him to Trout and the other dude?" (Adler - MLB.com - 10/3/16)
March 3, 2017: It's easy to forget how young Manny still is. But entering his sixth big league season, the Orioles' third baseman has become a veteran of sorts in Baltimore's clubhouse, doling out advice, mentoring younger players and boasting an impressive resume at the mere age of 24.
"Especially with Manny, I feel like he's matured more and more," said Machado's close friend, second baseman Jonathan Schoop. "He's become a leader a little bit more, done a lot of talking to the young guys. He's young too, but he's talking with guys who haven't made it to the big leagues, trying to help them.
"Since he got called up, he's been one of the best third basemen in baseball. When I was over there [in the overflowing spring clubhouse], I didn't want to go past where the Major League side is, but now some rookie guys go past there, and Manny goes and talks to them. And they're like, 'Ah, Manny talks to me! I feel so much more relaxed now.'" (B Ghiroli - MLB.com - March 3, 2017)
At an age when a lot of guys are still trying to figure out the Majors, Machado isn't just comfortable: He keeps getting better. The 2013 AL Platinum Glove winner and three-time All-Star set career highs in homers and RBIs last year and has finished in the top five for AL MVP voting the past two seasons.
"We have a taste of what it feels like to win and what it takes to get there," said Machado, who speaks with more confidence and poise than ever. "I want to say we have the best group of guys in there to try to make that push." A major part of the Orioles' recent resurgence, Machado had a taste of the playoffs immediately when he came up in late 2012, as a wide-eyed teen not far removed from being an extra body for road spring games.
"A few days ago, he looks around goes, 'Hey, remember when we were over there?'" Schoop said, gesturing to the overflow clubhouse for the just-in-case guys. "Remember when we used to go on the road and just sit on the bench? Time goes quick. But some things don't change. We still know we have to work hard, we still have the mindset that we have to work hard to get to where this team wants to go." (B Ghiroli - MLB.com - March 3, 2017)
November 2016: Machado was chosen to represent the Dominican Republic at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Machado has spoken of the 2017 World Baseball Classic as one way to show gratitude to his Dominican-born parents. Machado arrived at the defending Classic champions' training base at Pirate City, walked into the clubhouse and saw the DOMINICANA jersey hanging in his locker.
"I got chills," said Machado, still smiling hours later. "Once I put it on, it was worth the wait."
And, he said, it felt right. "It always did," added Machado, the Orioles' three-time All-Star. "I was excited to come in and be a part of this. As soon as I put it on ... it's always felt right. It's been feeling right. It feels like I'm part of them. They mess around with me a little bit, but I'm excited to be here, be part of this journey and always represent the Dominican Republic in the right way."
Wait a minute: Machado said his teammates already like to "mess around" with him. Care to elaborate? "Just making fun of me for speaking English—that I can speak both languages," Machado said with a grin. "It's pretty funny."
One item of business was conducted entirely in Spanish: After manager Tony Peña addressed players at an introductory meeting, they took turns speaking to their peers during a closed-door session that ran overtime—for all the right reasons.
"It's completely different," Machado said. "You see how much we care for wearing this jersey. This is not just going out there and playing baseball. It implicates a lot more. It implicates a lot of different things. You're playing for the Dominican Republic. You're playing for a lot of fans out there. You're playing for a lot of people. They're going to be watching.
"You have to take it in. Being part of that, hearing what everyone had to say, it was delightful."
For Machado, perhaps the most meaningful words of all have come from his mother, Rosa Núñez. He recalled what she'd told him recently: "Manny, I've been waiting for this moment always. Every day, I feel like crying, knowing you're going to do this for me." (Morosi - mlb.com - 3/6/17)
Here's a description of Manny, in his own words.
My name is Manny Machado. I am a third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. I know who I am and where I come from. Loyalty matters to me. It matters a lot.
I'm a proud Oriole. I came up with this organization and Baltimore is a city I know well, so that's why I'm going to do what I can to help out the kids in the community here. Of course, Miami is my first home. I was born and raised there and I'll always be attached to Miami. One day, I envision doing something big for the communities in Florida that helped me as a kid, but my heart tells me to start here in Baltimore and that's what I'm going to do.
My Base-BOWL event is in its fourth year. It was designed to help out the Baltimore City Foundation and the inner-city kids that play baseball. At the end of the day, it's about trying to help others with the things and experiences I never had as a kid. I'm in a great situation to help out the kids in my community.
I have roots in Baltimore now. And I'm really proud of all of my roots. I chose to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic because that's where parts of my family were born and I wanted to honor them. I wanted to give my family something that they could never forget.
My late grandfather Francisco Nunez inspired me to go out to the baseball field every day and get better. He helped me fall in love with the game and I'm very grateful for the time I got to spend with him when he was alive. I did it for my family. It's my heritage. Putting on the Dominican jersey represented them as much as it did me. (Machado - mlb.com - 6/23/17)
May 2018: Machado said of his close friend in Chicago, Albert Almora Jr.: "When we're playing in his backyard growing up, we've always dreamed about playing together someday in the big leagues, put on the same big league uniform, be on the same field, win a World Series together."
In 2018, Machado was selected to play in the MLB All-Star game.
2018: The newest Dodger will wear uniform No. 8 as he makes his Dodgers debut. The No. 13, which Machado wore throughout his six-plus seasons with Baltimore, is currently worn by Max Muncy.
Machado went on a health kick, revamped his diet and added strength and definition to his body over the winter. Among his personal sacrifices were eliminating pizza and chicken nuggets from his diet. Each day, Machado would drive past another McDonald’s and muster the willpower not to turn into the drive-thru window for a heaping bag of fat grams and sodium.
“Are you going to put cheap gas in your Lamborghini?” Machado said. “I feel like I’m a Rolls-Royce or a Lamborghini—whichever one. It doesn’t matter. It’s an expensive car, and you’re not going to put something cheap in there.”
The Lamborghini analogy is a fitting one for Machado. His sleek exterior masks lots of power under the hood. But sports cars can be temperamental. They don’t always go from zero to 60 in a flash. Potholes loom around every corner. And you never know when Jesus Aguilar’s big right foot will be lurking on the immediate horizon as a precursor to trouble.
Less than three months into his tenure with the Dodgers, Machado added another line to his bad boy image with a regrettable and misguided incident in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Brewers. While crossing first base, he took a quick glance down, clipped Aguilar’s heel, and added to his catalogue of missteps. MLB fined him $10,000, but the hit to his wallet didn’t come close to the dings to his image and reputation.
The rap sheet speaks to Machado’s immaturity. The first big blemish came in 2014, when he overreacted to a routine tag from the Athletics’ Josh Donaldson by throwing his bat in the direction of Alberto Callaspo at third base. Machado was branded with some “punk” tendencies at age 21, and they’ve lingered through the years because of a troubling aversion to running out routine ground balls.
“I’m not the type of player who’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line and slide to first base and—you know, whatever can happen,” he told Ken Rosenthal in a Fox Sports 1 interview. “That’s just not my personality. That’s not my cup of tea. That’s not who I am.”
Let’s cut Machado some slack and buy into the notion that he’s captive to his emotions and powerless to ward off the knee-jerk actions that cast him in a negative light. Or perhaps he secretly warms to the bad-boy narrative and derives motivation from all those boos raining down upon his head. He wouldn’t be the first great player with a flair for “what the heck?” moments in the field. (Does the name “Alex Rodriguez” spring to mind?) (Jerry Crasnick - Baseball America - 12/06/2018)
Trash talker: “Is that really all you got?” That's the question that Machado asked Mets slugger Pete Alonso as he jogged off the field following Alonso’s mammoth home run at Petco Park in May. Machado punctuated that taunt with a wink.
But Machado's most highly publicized trash-talking incident came in July 2019, during the Padres’ four-game series in Los Angeles. A fan taunted Machado about his new 10-year contract, implying that Machado would have the month of October off for a decade.
“I’ll bet you my contract,” Machado said as he turned toward the chirping fan, “that we’ll win a World Series before you guys do.” (MLB.com - Apr. 29, 2020)
Nov 2020: Machado finished third in the NL 2020 MVP voting with 221 points, behind Freeman's 410 and Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts' 268.
2020 Season: Over the pandemic-shortened 60-game season, Machado dramatically improved his OPS to a career-high .950. He batted .304 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs, earning his first Silver Slugger Award, while defensive metrics were improved as well. It was good for a third in NL MVP voting.
Why the big difference? For some hitters, it helps when they are trying to go the opposite way more, but it looks like that’s not the case with Machado. He actually pulled 45% of the balls he put in play according to FanGraphs, by far the highest mark of his career and up dramatically from the 36.8% mark of 2019. Ground ball and fly ball rates were down, but his line drive rate was up to 22%, also the highest mark of his career.
It appears that Machado also had better pitch selection in 2020. His percentage of swings at pitches outside the strike zone was down from 2019, while the percentage of swings at pitches in the strike zone was up. (Brian Johnston - Jan. 6, 2021)
The instructions were simple enough, and the skinny 16-year-old kid from Hialeah, Fla., committed them to memory. Thirteen years later, Manny recounts them word-for-word. "It was: 'Meet me here at eight o'clock in the morning at the University of Miami,’" Machado says. "’Bring a gallon of water and bananas.'" And for the first time in his life, Machado got his butt kicked. Machado ran. He did squats. (He had never done a proper squat before in his life.) He went through a series of lifts. He took ground balls. He hit. Then, he ran again. When it was done, Machado was physically and mentally drained—like never before in his life.
A small part of him asked whether this was what he truly wanted. Deep down, Machado already knew the answer. Of course, this was what he wanted. He had dreamed of being a big leaguer for as long as he could remember. If this was what it took, he would meet his new workout partner at the gym at 8:00 a.m. the next day for Round 2. Manny Machado and Yonder Alonso working out at the University of Miami (via Instagram)
As it would happen, that workout partner was a highly touted first-base prospect for the Reds named Yonder Alonso, drafted No. 7 overall out of Miami in 2008. Machado had been badgering Alonso about working out together a year before that. But Alonso was a star at Miami and didn't want to jeopardize Machado's college eligibility. Alonso knew it wouldn't be long before he turned pro, so he gave Machado a message: "If you really want to be great and you want to get to the big leagues, call me a year from now," Alonso said. "That way I'm not breaking any rules, and you're not breaking any rules." Sure enough, Manny waited a year and he called me, and he said, 'Hey, a year has passed. I'm ready to work out with you.' And I said, 'All right, be at the weight room at 8 in the morning. We're going to work.’ He was there, 8 in the morning, and we've been working out together since." (AJ Cassavell - Mar. 7, 2021)
“Whether it’s first to third, picking our spots when we can steal a base, just being a little more aggressive and putting pressure on the other team, that’s something that has been a focal point since spring training,” Melvin, a three-time Manager of the Year, said. “And then you look at Manny. He’s doing everything. When you have a guy like that who sets the tone for everybody else, everybody has to kind of fall in.”
Machado has been aggressive at the plate. His first-pitch swing percentage is by far the highest of his career. His chase rate is his highest since 2014. Often, those are the types of trends associated with a flailing hitter, but Machado right now is just the opposite. His contact rate is his highest since 2015. And his walk rate is the highest of his career.
Baseball people say it all the time about the great ones: It’s almost as if they are playing a different game.
“One of his most underrated baseball qualities is his baseball IQ,” Soto said. “I’ve seen him sit there and talk about situations. He’s trying to pass it on to the younger guys who work with us. It’s freaking insane. It blows my mind.
“I don’t know enough about baseball to understand what the hell he’s saying. But his IQ is crazy. Now that he has the confidence — ‘Look, my speed is there, I have the explosiveness I need’ — it’s just trusting his instincts and mental capacity on a play by play basis. And that’s where that attack mode comes in.”
Machado’s base running might seem like a minor thing when he’s hitting the ball harder than almost everyone in the game and making his usual wondrous plays at third base. But his willingness to seek even the smallest of edges tells us everything we need to know about his evolution. He is a player in full now, who he always was supposed to be. (Rosenthal-TheAthletic.com-May 24th, 2022)
July 8, 2022: - Padres third baseman Manny Machado overcame an untimely injury and the incumbency of Nolan Arenado to earn his first All-Star start as a National Leaguer for the 92nd Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 19.
Phase 2 voting results were released Friday, and Machado edged Arenado 51% to 49% to get the starting nod. Arenado was the NL starter at third base in the past four All-Star Games. (There was no game during the abbreviated 2020 season.)
“It’s always a great honor to be selected to the All-Star Game,” Machado said. “This one is my first as a starter with the San Diego Padres. On top of that, it was voted by the fans. It shows you how much San Diego has been enjoying us on the field and supporting us through this whole year. It’s fun.” (S O'neill - MLB.com - July 8, 2022)
Sept. 2022: Machado chose to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2023 WBC.
2022 Season: Machado led the National League with 7.4 fWAR -- marking the highest total for any Padres position player since Ken Caminiti in 1996. Fittingly, Caminiti was the last (and only) Padre to win an MVP Award.
If Machado is going to join him, it would take something of an upset, with Goldschmidt the presumed favorite. But Machado built himself quite a case in carrying the Padres to their first full-season playoff berth in 16 years.
He slashed .298/.366/.531 with 32 homers and his usual outstanding defense at third base. On top of that, Machado performed when the Padres needed him most. For much of the early part of the season, he was the Padres' offense. Fernando Tatis Jr. was absent, and trade reinforcements wouldn't arrive until early August.
Through it all, Machado raked -- with one blip. In late June, he sustained a gruesome ankle injury. The Padres worried he might be out for months. Instead, Machado missed just 10 days.
He played hurt and his numbers took a hit, but the Padres desperately needed Machado on the field.
Nov 17, 2022: Machado finishes runner-up in 2022 NL MVP race.
Goldschmidt finished First with 380 total points to Machado's 291 and 22 first-place votes to Machado's seven. Nolan Arenado, who finished third, received the lone remaining first-place vote and finished with 232 points.
Machado's second-place finish is the highest by a Padre since Ken Caminiti won the only MVP Award in franchise history in 1996.
June 2010: The Orioles made Machado their #1 pick (#3 overall), behind Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Jameson Taillon (Pirates). He signed with scout John Martin just before the August 16 midnight deadline for a bonus of $5.2 million. It was the sixth-highest bonus ever for a high schooler picked in the amateur draft.
January 15, 2016: The Orioles and Machado avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $5 million.
January 13, 2017: Manny and the O's again avoided arbitration, settling on a one-year contract for $11.5 million.
Jan 12, 2018: Manny and the O's avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $16 million.
July 18, 2018: The Orioles traded Machado to the Dodgers for five prospects: outfielder Yusniel Diaz, righthander Dean Kremer, third baseman Rylan Bannon, righthanded reliever Zach Pop, and third baseman Breyvic Valera.
Oct 29, 2018: Manny chose free agency.
- Feb 19, 2019: Machado signed with the Padres for a record $300 million over 10 years. The deal is the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports, surpassing the 10-year, $275 million deal that Alex Rodriguez signed in 2007. It includes an opt-out after the fifth year and a partial no-trade clause.