In August of 2012, the Baltimore Orioles were in the wild card hunt and desperate to solve a problem – third base.
As we all know from last season, former Oriole Mark Reynolds despite his power was struggling at the hot corner, and executive vice president Dan Duquette, the front office, along with manager Buck Showalter were looking for a solution.
In the middle of that month, the Baltimore Orioles did something bold and head-scratching at the same time. They promoted Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie to the majors.
At first, I was bewildered at the news. I wondered why they would promote a 20-year-old who was only hitting .266 at the time with eleven home runs in 400 or so at-bats at Bowie?
Furthermore, the organization announced Machado would play third base – a position he manned only twice in the minors. When I heard that, I too shook my head; however, if Machado could play much better than Reynolds at third, then why not?
I was a little concerned that the organization would rush the youngster and perhaps impede his development.
Obviously, Duquette and Showalter knew their personnel very well and took a roll of the dice with the youngster. As Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal revealed this week, the Orioles were doing their best to get Machado acclimated to the position throughout the summer of that year.
Machado was the team’s first round draft pick in 2010, seemed to be from a good pedigree. The Baltimore front office and Showalter figured that he could handle the pressure of third base, the rigors of the majors and play a role in a pennant race.
The Baltimore Orioles succeeded all expectations – and then some – in 2012.