Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Manny Machado's Former Boss Explains Why He's a 'Perfect Fit' in St. Louis

The Orioles' former VP of baseball operations says Machado is even a better fit in St. Louis than Bryce Harper.

November 14, 2018 - 10:39 am

Have St. Louis Cardinals fans forgotten about Manny Machado? A majority of the headlines and tweets regarding the Cardinals and perspective free agents during last week's GM Meetings, (including this media outlet) were about Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson and Paul Goldschmidt. 

But what about the guy who smacked 37 home runs and played in the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers? Machado's former boss in Baltimore says he would thrive in St. Louis: "That environment, that city would be a perfect fit for him." 

Jim Duquette has known Machado since he was 19-years-old, while he was the Baltimore Orioles' VP of baseball operations during the early part of Machado's tenure there. Now an analyst for MLB Network Radio, Duquette was a guest on last night's Sports Open Line with Alex Ferrario:

"It was a really good fit in Baltimore, just the city, the community, just for him and his personality," Duquette says. "He may have in his mind that New York or LA are good for him, but watching him play, the baseball town as good as St. Louis is, I think it's a really, really good fit. I think he'd be willing to play there, of course the money is going to have to be right, but I think that, that's the spot he fits perfectly."

Machado got his taste of the West Coast, when the Dodgers moved him at the trade deadline. Now, maybe he wants to return to a Midwest city. 

Duquette believes he's even a better fit in St. Louis than the aforementioned Harper

"If you're going to go down that road of a big contract, I'd go up the middle with the defense and the offense," Duquette says. 

He believes Machado will be looking at a deal that's between seven and nin year, a lot less than the 10-plus years some believe Harper will get. There's also less in the way for Machado in St. Louis' infield than there would be for Harper in the outfield (i.e. moving Dexter Fowler, Jose Martinez and Tyler O'Neill).

"You can start him at shortstop, we know he's one of the best third basemen in the game, as a shortstop he really caught my eye as a top three or four shortstops in the league in terms of defensive runs saved," Duquette says. "He can do either, I think that's the beauty and flexibility that he provides."

But is Machado "Cardinals material" after what we saw during the Dodger's playoff run? There was Machado's comments about not being 'Johnny Hustle.' And he's being called a "dirty player" with multiple instances of ugly-looking slides and stepping on ankels

"He doesn't have to be necessarily a leader on that team. But I've seen him behind the scenes signing a lot of autographes for kids, with the youth and that sort of things," Duquette says. "I'll admit I'm a little biases, I am. But I just think you can overlook some of those things." 

Plus, Duquette says, there's the Yadi factor. 

Theoretically, Yadier Molina in his last two big league seasons would be able to mold the young infielder as he begins to take over the role as the face of the Cardinals.

Duquette mentioned the Philadelphia Phillies as the steepest competition, but St. Louis is among the three or four teams that have the best chance to land him. 

So when might this signing happen? Based on talks with agents, Duquette says he's hearing there will be more agressiveness "in the upper end" free agent market before the Winter Meetings in December, possibly as soon as Thanksgiving. 

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