Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is a rising star in baseball. He can do it all. He hits with power and for average, saves runs with his glove and he has a howitzer for an arm.
Don't read too much into his early hitting struggles, because he's just coming back from injury. And I don't take a lot of stock in his 13 errors last season, because he saves more runs than he let's in. Plus his range greatly helps shortstop J.J. Hardy and the Orioles' pitching staff.
He's young - just 21 - and has a lot to learn about the game and how to handle himself.
Machado should and will get suspended soon by Major League Baseball. He took exception to a hard tag from Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson Friday night, and then took offense to an inside pitch Sunday afternoon.
Later in the same at-bat, he threw his bat down the third base line on an attempted swing. In addition, his follow through on two occasions hit A's catcher Derek Norris, the second one knocking him out of the game.
Neither time did Machado apologize. His reactions to the tag and inside pitch resulted in the benches clearing. Because of that, and his immaturity, he will be forced to sit at least three to five games (my estimation).
Machado put his teammates and manager is a tough situation by defending him, both verbally to the media and physically on the field. He will hurt his team with his absence once the penalty is handed down, but just as important, he has hurt his reputation.
He can win fans back for sure, but these incidents will stain him for a while. What he needs as much as anything else is a new advisor.
Machado views Alex Rodriguez as his mentor. That's right, the same Rodriguez who has been the center of controversy on and off the field for his entire career. From his PED use, to his extramarital affairs, to his on-field bush-league tactics, like yelling at a Tampa Bay Rays infielder while catching a pop-up or trying to slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in the 2004 ALCS).
If the Orioles really view Machado as its cornerstone player, it will strongly encourage him to get closer to better mentors in the Orioles clubhouse like Nick Markakis, Adam Jones or Matt Wiiters - anything to distance himself from Rodriguez.
Machado has enough negativity around him now, and it smells too much like A-Rod for my liking.