July 21, 2018 / 3:48 AM / 3 months ago

Machado 'relieved' to join Dodgers

Manny Machado was activated by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, the culmination of what’s been a wild week for the former Baltimore Orioles shortstop.

Jul 20, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) defends during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m relieved,” Machado said at his introductory press conference. “Relieved it finally got done. It’s exciting to be here. It’s a great group. Great organization, with a lot of baseball history. I’ll just come here and be myself and try to fit into the club around here.”

Trade rumors have surrounded Machado for most the year as the Orioles have struggled from the start of the season. Reports that the 26-year-old was headed to the Dodgers came out before Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, where Machado sported a Baltimore uniform for the last time.

Machado was officially dealt to L.A. on Wednesday for five prospects headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz.

“We think Manny was really the most impactful player that was on the market at the time,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “I think any contender could see that he could make a positive impact on them. So there was a lot of teams involved. We just tried to stay engaged.

“As I mentioned a couple of days ago when the deal went down, this has been in the making for over a month, and I know conversations with those other teams were taking place, too. For a player of Manny’s caliber, you know you’re going to have to give up a lot, and we did. That speaks to what we think this team can accomplish and how great a player we think he is.”

Machado, 26, is batting .315 with 24 homers, 65 RBIs and a .963 OPS in the final year of his contract before becoming a free agent. With each of those figures on pace for career highs, he’s projected to fetch a long-term deal approaching $300 million on the open market this winter.

“I’m here to play baseball,” Machado said. “I’ve been there quite a few times. My wife loves it; my family does as well. We’re just looking forward to enjoying the beautiful weather that’s out there. Going out there to play and try to win a championship.”

Machado will wear No. 8 with the Dodgers, as Max Muncy currently wears the No. 13 Machado sported in Baltimore. Machado cited a “new beginning” when talking about how he didn’t want to negotiate for his old number and also said he was a big Kobe Bryant fan growing up.

Around the same time the Dodgers activated Machado, the four-time All-Star bid farewell and thanked the Baltimore Orioles and their fans in a lengthy Instagram post.

It reads in full:

“To my Baltimore family,

“I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart!

“To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be...I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you.

“To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! !

“Much love always,

“Manny #13”

Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, whom Machado referred to as “Schoopy” in his note, told reporters he left his vacation to drive to Machado’s house and say goodbye in person.

“I broke down like a kid,” Schoop said. “I cried when I went to his house. I won’t see him because he’s a Dodger. I broke down and started to cry. I wish him the best and the emotions are still going on.”

In a corresponding move for Machado’s activation, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Andrew Toles to Triple-A Oklahoma City

—Field Level Media

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