The Baltimore Orioles held their annual FanFest on Saturday at the Baltimore Convention Center.
As fans started rolling in, many players, coaches, and executives answered questions. This included questions from the media and fans alike. The biggest inquiries were about the possibility of extensions with some of their top players. Manny Machado, Zach Britton, and Chris Tillman were all asked about what their plans for the future are. All three players have been major keys to the success of the Orioles since they made it back to the playoffs in 2012.
Machado has been simply been a great player since joining the Big Leagues in 2012. The 24-year old third baseman has batted .284/.333/.477, hit 105 homers, made the All-Star Game three times, won two Gold Gloves and one Platinum Glove. There are few that are more decorated than Machado in such a short period of time. However, because Machado is such a great player, he will most likely cost a great deal on the free-agent market.
Some have projected Machado to receive over $300 million in his contract. When he is a free-agent in 2018, he will only be 26-years old. It could be argued that Machado hasn’t yet reached his stride. Whichever team receives his services may get a massive return on their investment due to him being in his prime.
Britton has been a shutdown closer ever since he jumped into the role in the 2014 season. He has 120 saves, a 1.38 ERA, and two All-Star appearances. The 29-year old closer finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award race. During the postseason, he wasn’t used against the Toronto Blue Jays, most famously.
His impact out of the Orioles bullpen has been without question. His 97 mph sinker has been one of the best pitches in the game, according to ESPN and other sources. Britton will become a free-agent in 2018 as well and many people are wondering whether or not he will return. It has also been some talk as to whether him or Machado could be traded, which return a heavy amount of prospects.
Tillman has had a 65-33 record, 3.81 ERA, and 844.2 innings pitched since 2012. He has been the model of consistency for the Orioles starting staff. Although there would be a priority to bring him back, he hasn’t gone into extensive contract talks as of yet according to Pressbox’s Rich Dubroff:
Chris Tillman says he doesn't expect any talks on a possible extension before spring training. Once season starts prefers no talks. #Orioles
— Rich DubroffMLB (@RichDubroffMLB) January 28, 2017
Here are some of Machado’s quotes on being extended:
On extension talks before the season: “So far it hasn’t. Nothing has come up. It’s there. It’s open. The organization I play for is the organization I want to play for. I’m open to talking. When the time is right, there’s always timing. We’re focused on trying to win a championship and bring the right guys in here that we need to bring in,” Machado said.
“We’re trying to build a team, a championship team, which is the main goal at the end of the day. To sign a contract with the team, is obviously a personal goal, and everybody wants a contract.”
On the Orioles re-signing key players: “They finally started signing guys, so that’s a step in the right direction. They want guys to stay. They want to build a legacy here,” Machado said.
On becoming a free-agent in 2018: “We’ve still got a couple of years to wait for and see what happens, still a long time,” Machado said.
“There are other priorities out there. I get it. I have two years left. It’s out of my control. I can’t go out there and tell them, ‘I want this or I want [that].’ It’s not like that. They know I want to play here. This is my organization. This is the team I want to play for.”
On wanting to prioritizing a ring over an extension: “I’ve done everything with this team. This is the only team I know. I’m all for it [but] I’d rather win a ring than sign a long-term contract. They’re doing the right things to put the right pieces in the right direction. When the time comes, I know they’re going to come up and try and get something done,” Machado said.