After just three rehab games in the Carolina League with the Frederick Keys, the Orioles will activate Machado for Tuesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Well, weather permitting — and unfortunately, the forecast doesn’t look promising.
The 21-year-old All-Star third baseman (/shortstop) led Major League Baseball in doubles last season (51) and slashed .283/.314/.432. His production in Buck Showalter‘s lineup was certainly missed, but perhaps not nearly as much as his defensive play. Machado won a Gold Glove at third in 2013 and posted a 4.3 dWAR and 3.05 RF/9.
How strong are the Orioles now with Manny back in the fold?
To given a very basic answer to that question, we can examine Machado’s 2013 WAR: 6.4. The Birds have been using Ryan Flaherty (-0.4 WAR in 2014) and Jonathan Schoop (0.0 WAR in 2014) as his replacements at the hot corner. He’ll obviously help the Birds defensively on the left side of the infield, though you probably didn’t need any advanced metrics to tell you that.
Machado led the game in Total Zone Runs (32), double plays turned as a third baseman (42) and was second in putouts (116) and assists (355) at his position in 2013. There, even more stats. He’s good with the leather.
However, with Chris Davis (6.1 WAR in 2013) on the disabled list with a strained oblique, the O’s are essentially trading one six win player for another. Which is just another way of saying that WAR thinks they’ll be nearly the same team they’ve been over the first 24 games of the 2014 season.
Their defense improves with Machado, but offense will likely take a step back with Davis. Both players hit in the .280s last season, though Davis reached base more often (.370 OBP vs. .314 OBP).
It won’t be until Davis and Machado are in the lineup together that the O’s will truly see a difference in their overall production.