WASHINGTON — It doesn’t appear as if Manny Machado will be Bronx-bound after all.
Which, despite the speculation the last couple of weeks, many in the industry believed was a long-shot proposition.
The Orioles All-Star shortstop, the subject of trade rumors for much of the season, could be on the move and soon.
According to multiple reports Tuesday, Machado, a free agent after this season, was all but certain to be traded before the resumption of the season’s second half, with the Dodgers taking a commanding lead in the sweepstakes.
According to a report Tuesday afternoon by FanCred’s Jon Heyman: “The Diamondbacks in particular are still ‘active,’ and could be running second in the unfolding derby, but for now the Dodgers have emerged as a clear leader.”
In the American League clubhouse before Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Nationals Park, Machado said he had heard “nothing” to that effect.
“Haven’t heard anything,” Machado said. “I’m just worried about the game [tonight]. Whatever happens, happens.”
The Yankees have kept tabs on Machado but no deal ever was considered close because they are unwilling to include any of their top prospects from a loaded farm system for what very well could amount to a two-month rental.
Speaking on Monday, the 26-year-old, who is hitting .315 with 24 homers and 65 RBIs, expressed no preferences to where he ends up, just that something happens soon.
The not knowing, Machado said, is “the worst” part of the process. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “This game’s already hard enough as it is. To go out there and not know where you’re going to be tomorrow is kind of tough.”
Of ending up with the Dodgers, Machado repeated what he said Monday: He has no preference.
“Honestly, like I said before and I’ll continue to say, I’m not even worried about that,” he said. “I’m not worried about what’s going to happen later.”
Machado, who answered questions along those lines for some 45 minutes Monday, was not as interested in revisiting them at length Tuesday, even with some clarity of his situation starting to come into focus.
“These are probably going to be the last ones I answer,” he said. “There will be a time and place to answer questions if it happens or it doesn’t. For now I’m just trying to worry about today and go out there tonight and enjoy myself as much as I can.”
Does it go through his mind whether he’ll be in Toronto Friday night when the Orioles open up the second half of the season?
“I’m not really worried about it,” he said. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t I’ll be there [in Toronto].”
Some of his potential future teammates were more than happy to chime in.
Ross Stripling, the Dodgers righthander in his first All-Star Game, saw a reference to his team possibly getting Machado while watching TV earlier in the day.
“I’d have zero complaints about that,” Stripling said. “Obviously you put that bat in the middle of our lineup makes things pretty special.”
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, a three-time All-Star, is friends with Machado, having worked out with him in past offseasons. He said he didn’t have any insight but would welcome everything Machado could bring to a team that’s in a dogfight for the NL West title.
“He’s actually one of my favorite players to watch. He’s a great player,” Kemp said. “If that’s something that happens I think LA would be excited about it and would definitely help our team win more games.”