Detroit Tigers: Does Dixon Machado have a future in Detroit?
By Andy Patton
The Detroit Tigers gave Dixon Machado the second base job. Now, he has been removed from the 40-man roster. Does he have a future in the Motor City?
The Detroit Tigers traded Ian Kinsler to the Angels this offseason, allowing an open competition to replace him at the keystone. Former utility infielder Dixon Machado won the job with a strong spring training performance.
The 26-year-old hit the ball hard right off the bat, racking up seven doubles and eight RBI in his first 45 plate appearances, with a bad-but-not-horrible .233 batting average. Things went south from there however, as Machado only hit .199/.262/.263 from April 13 on, hitting just one home run and stealing just one base. He was designated for assignment in late June and outrighted off the 40-man roster.
Machado didn’t respond well to the demotion, limping to a .224/.321/.279 line in 43 games at Toledo. While his value has never been with the stick, Machado just flat-out didn’t hit enough to receive a call back to the big leagues, even with a season-ending injury to Jose Iglesias and a small injury to Niko Goodrum.
Detroit opted to go with veteran Pete Kozma and 24-year-old rookie Harold Castro over Machado – a pretty clear sign that the infielder is not in Detroit’s future plans.
So what does that mean for Machado? Well, at age 26 the Detroit Tigers have probably seen enough to know what they have in him. He possesses an excellent glove, posting a 3.4 UZR in over 500 innings at second this season. Although he did not play shortstop in the big leagues this season, he has graded out well there in the past.
Machado ultimately is in danger of getting pushed out by Detroit’s plethora of middle infield options. Jose Iglesias is a free agent after this season, but even if they don’t re-sign him they will have Goodrum, Ronny Rodriguez, Dawel Lugo and Castro on hand. Plus, prospect Willi Castro and defensive whiz Sergio Alcantara are both creeping closer to the big leagues.
I expect Machado will get a chance to compete in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster. I think Goodrum has second base all but locked up, and I also expect other veterans (similar to Kozma) to compete for a role as well. Ultimately, Machado may need to find his big league opportunities somewhere else, if he is going to ever stick in the show.