The Los Angeles Lakers dominated early headlines in NBA free agency by signing LeBron James to a four-year contract, and now their baseball equivalent — the Dodgers — have done the same ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.
During the MLB All-Star break the Dodgers completed a blockbuster trade with the Baltimore Orioles to acquire Manny Machado in exchange for five prospects. Machado presumably will go down as the top talent who was available this season at the July 31 deadline.
The 26-year-old is due to reach free agency this winter and may only wind up being a rental for the Dodgers, but he is being championed as a key ingredient to an expected deep run in the postseason.
Machado joined the Dodgers on Friday for his debut, and prior to taking the field completed the customary introductory press conference and interviews.
During which time, Machado revealed one reason to opting for a No. 8 jersey with the Dodgers is because of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, via SportsNet LA:
“Honestly, I wanted new change, No. 8. I didn’t know this when I spoke on the phone with Dave, he told me eight is for new beginnings. I picked it for something different. New beginning, new journey. Everything is going to change, so I had to go with No. 8. And obviously, one of my favorite basketball players was from L.A. — Mr. Kobe Bryant. I kind of had to go there and put that number on. … He got a lot of rings in L.A. Hopefully I can bring one.”
Machado wore No. 13 with the Orioles, which currently belongs to Max Muncy. It’s possible for players to negotiate a deal for the rights to a jersey number/switch, but Muncy was never approached.
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