Baumann: Manny Machado and the postseason narrative tax

From SABR member Michael Baumann at The Ringer on October 29, 2018:

The last out of the 2018 World Series could not have come in any more poetic a fashion, with Manny Machado waving over a Chris Sale slider, losing his balance, and falling to a knee.

In a postseason full of compelling personal narratives, Machado stands out as this October’s most interesting and controversial figure. The Dodgers brought in Machado to help right a ship that was taking on water—Los Angeles had lost star shortstop, Corey Seager, for the season in April and started 18-26. By the time the Dodgers consummated the Machado trade with the Orioles on July 18, L.A. was back over .500 but only led the division by half a game.

When he arrived in Los Angeles, Machado was hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, the best offensive season of a career that’s on a Hall of Fame track. (A good starting point for a serious Hall of Fame case is 60 career bWAR, and Machado’s more than halfway there at age 26.) He was supposed to swing the pennant race all by himself. Machado is one of two headline names, along with Bryce Harper, in one of the most anticipated free agent classes of the 21st century. Both Harper and Machado are in line for contracts in excess of $200 million, perhaps as much as $300 million. The Dodgers picking up a player of that quality, even if only for a couple months, was the biggest move any team made at the deadline.

But while Machado was good in two-plus months (.273/.338/.487 with 13 home runs), he didn’t move the needle the way the first installment in the Mannywood series did.

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Originally published: October 30, 2018. Last Updated: October 30, 2018.