08/21/10 4:15 PM ET
O's first pick Machado ready to report
Third overall pick happy deal got done, bound for Sarasota
By Jeff Seidel / Special to MLB.com
The Orioles agreed to terms with Machado just three minutes before last Monday's midnight ET signing deadline. They gave the 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop from Miami the second-highest signing bonus in franchise history at $5.25 million. Machado was the third pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft and is scheduled to report to the team's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., on Sunday, when he'll begin working with the Gulf Coast Orioles.
"The deal got done," Machado said. "I just can't wait to get suited up and start playing professional ball."
The Orioles are probably just as happy. Scouting director Joe Jordan's comments last Monday night after the deal was announced make that clear. They expected negotiations to go down to the wire in dealing with agent Scott Boras, but the Orioles wanted to sign Machado.
"For us to have a really good Draft, we had to sign this player," Jordan said. "It went like we thought. We had a really good read on the financial side of it -- what it was going to take. We're very happy."
Machado didn't play this summer while waiting for the negotiations to drag out. He worked out a lot but said getting back in the batter's box again will require an adjustment.
"I didn't play this summer, but I was working out," Machado said. "[I'm] probably just going to be a little rusty seeing live pitching, but that's about it."
The Orioles will be introducing Machado during their next homestand. The reason it's taking longer is that Machado's mother recently had surgery and isn't allowed to fly yet, and he wants her to be there.
Machado had a spectacular career at Brito Private High School in Florida. He played on the varsity for four years and hit .639 (55-for-86) this past season with 12 homers and 56 RBIs. In addition, Machado scored 43 runs and stole 17 bases.
Machado said the long waiting process during the negotiations was a bit unsettling at times, and while he hoped the deal would get done, there were some anxious moments.
"It did make it very hard to [wait]," Machado said. "At some point, I did think I was going to go to college, [but] I was pretty excited the deal got done."
The shortstop said now that he's going to work on his defensive footwork and get stronger. But in the end, Machado doesn't have a very complex strategy now that he's a professional baseball player.
"My plan is just to go out there and play and have fun," he said. "[That's] what I've been doing throughout my career in baseball."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.