As free agency awaits, Machado thanks Dodgers

While Manny Machado was noncommittal as to his future after the Los Angeles Dodgers lost the World Series in five games, he may have shed insight into his thinking Wednesday when he took to Instagram.

The free-agent shortstop acquired by the Dodgers from the Baltimore Orioles over the All-Star break posted his thanks to the Dodgers’ organization and the team’s fans, writing in part: “Thank you for making my experience as a Dodger, one I will cherish forever. I know we didn’t achieve our goal of bringing a championship back to Chavez Ravine, but there is no doubt in my mind that with this group of guys a World Series Title is on the horizon.”

That group of guys is expected to include shortstop Corey Seager, who missed most of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right arm and the labrum repair he underwent on his left hip. The Dodgers acquired Machado to fill the void left by Seager’s absence.

In 66 regular-season games with the Dodgers, Machado hit .273 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs, but he struggled against the Boston Red Sox in his first World Series, going 4-for -22. He was hitless in four at-bats in Game 5, including falling awkwardly to one knee as he swung and missed on a Chris Sale slider to end the Red Sox’s 5-1 series-clinching victory at Dodger Stadium. It was Machado’s third strikeout of the night.

The 26-year-old Machado is expected to command a large contract.

“Obviously, it has been a great journey. The Dodgers welcomed me with open arms,” Machado said Sunday. “It has been a great couple months we had here and we’ll see what happens.”

Machado’s three home runs and 12 RBIs ranked second among players in this year’s postseason. Most of his production happened early.

He was 8-for-28 (.286 batting average) with three home runs and nine RBIs in the four-game National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves and the first three games of the NL Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers. His production tailed off the rest of the way as he batted .184 (7-for-38) with three RBIs in the remaining nine games.

“We just didn’t have enough. We were unable to get past that hump,” Machado said.

Machado’s most memorable hit of the Fall Classic was notable for all the wrong reasons. During the sixth inning of Game 3, he had a little too much self-confidence when he apparently thought he hit a home run to left field. Instead, Machado admired what turned out to be a 368-foot single as it bounced off the wall. Had Machado run it out, it might have been a double.

In Saturday night’s Game 4, Machado stepped on Steve Pearce’s heel as he was running through first base. Pearce said Sunday that he didn’t consider the play malicious.

Machado’s baserunning was a frequent topic of conversation throughout the postseason. During the NLCS, he was criticized for not hustling during a ground out, kicking Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar near the ankle as he jogged out a ground out (which drew a $10,000 fine) and for a pair of hard slides into Orlando Arcia in Game 3 while the Milwaukee shortstop was attempting to turn double plays. The antics prompted Brewers star Christian Yelich to call Machado “a dirty player.”

After the Series was over, Machado said he hasn’t even started to consider his free-agent options.

“I don’t know because that’s not up to me or a decision I can make right now,” he said.

And while he may not know where he’ll end up signing, he may well have said farewell to Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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