Orioles third base Manny Machado will swap places with Tim Beckham at shortstop when the MLB season rolls along in March this year.
Team manager Buck Showalter said that we will experiment with the new lineup this season after a .463 winning percentage in the 2017-2018 season. He acknowledged that there will be adjustment period for two players.
Beckham, who has been playing at the shortstop position since he was drafted in 2008, would have a longer learning curve at the third base compared to Machado. Although the 28-year-old would rather play at shortstop, getting the opportunity to play every day at a lone position was a very attractive option.
Showalter said that swapping Machado and Beckham’s position will allow both players to get what they want as long as they also sacrifice something. While the 25-year-old has settled in quite nicely at this position at third base—and even won two Golden Gloves in the process—Machado is also excited about the switch.
“I can’t imagine him being in a better frame of mind or setup to do this,” he said. I think out of his respect for J.J. the past few years he’s been very professional about it.”
When Machado was drafted, he became the designated third baseman in deference to J.J. Hardy who was already the Orioles shortstop.
Machado and the Orioles agreed on a $16-million contract, which was a good bump from the $11.5 million he made last season.
For his part, Beckham said that he’s willing to try out the new experiment if it’s better for the team in the long run. He said the ultimate goal of everybody is to win the title, and this new move will not distract him from that goal.
“I don’t want to make this a big deal. I’m just going to transition over there and continue to make the plays and be consistent,” he said.