2.) Manny Machado is a superstar.
If you’ve watched the Orioles at all the past four years, you had a feeling Machado would blossom into a true superstar if he could ever stay healthy for a full year. That happened in a big way in 2016.
Macahdo finished the year with 35 homers, 86 RBIs, 20 steals, 102 runs, 70 walks, and a .286/.359/.502 slash line. The 23-year-old claimed his second Gold Glove and All-Star appearance this year, and his performance was worth 7.1 WAR. Josh Donaldson won the MVP, and put up slightly better offensive numbers than Machado, but there’s not much of a gap between the two. By the time Machado makes his move to shortstop, he could be a legitimate threat to hit 40 home runs and steal 30 bases, all while playing highlight-reel defense. The light really went on for Machado this year, and he developed his power while showing patience at the plate for the first time in his career.
Best of all, Machado wants to work out a long-term extension in Baltimore. That could be difficult this winter in light of Matt Wieters taking the one-year qualifying offer, but the Orioles should have a plan in place to ensure that a five- or six-year deal kicks off for Machado no later than Opening Day 2017.