If Machado cannot start on Opening Day, who plays third?
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Last season, Manny Machado only played 82 games as he suffered his second consecutive season-ending knee injury. Although his doctor says he has no restrictions and is a full-go for this spring, what if he, for some reason, is not ready to go come Opening Day?
Obviously, I want to see Machado over at the hot corner because he not only makes the team better exponentially on defense, but his bat is also needed after the Orioles lost key components of their 2014 offensive production in the off-season.
Nevertheless, let me play devil’s advocate for a minute. If for some reason Machado suffers some setback this spring regarding his newly repaired right knee, the Orioles and manager Buck Showalter are going to need to know who they will start at third come that first game against the Rays on April 6th.
Looking at Baltimore’s 40-man roster, Jimmy Paredes may surprise some people and be Machado’s backup heading into the season.
Paredes, 26, was acquired from the Kansas City Royals on July 24th, 2014 by the Baltimore Orioles. In his short time with the team, Paredes batted .302/.327/.491 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs in 18 games played with the Birds. Offensively, he would be the Orioles’ most probable backup to Machado.
Defensively speaking, the better choice would be either Chris Davis or Ryan Flaherty who have each flashed their leather over at third when given the opportunity.
Regardless, having so many choices to backup Machado if need be is a good problem for Showalter to have because it just speaks to the team’s versatility and ability to play at different positions on the field at a high level.