Cubs' Almora on Machado: 'We consider each other family'
The Cubs' Albert Almora Jr. and the Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado aren't really cousins. But they're so close, having grown up together in South Florida, that they could be cousins, or brothers.
"My backyard was the spot to be," Almora said Tuesday at Wrigley Field while Machado was on the South Side at Guaranteed Rate Field. "We had a lot of fun. We used to get in trouble, being on top of my roof and stuff like that. We consider each other family."
After many in the Chicago media descended on Machado on Monday, some of those same media members surrounded Almora at his locker before Tuesday's Cubs game against the Cleveland Indians.
The Cubs have been reported to be in pursuit of Machado, but Almora said he needs to do no sales job.
"That's the great thing about this organization," he said. "Nothing needs to be said. Guys want to play for us because we're the team to be. We have a lot of fun here. We have a great group of guys.
"What we have here is a special unit, a special team. Like he said and like I'm saying right now, that's up to the front-office guys to make those kinds of decisions. We have a great team here as we stand. We'll see what happens."
Because Machado is having an MVP-caliber start to his season and because he can become a free agent in the fall, the trade rumors have started early. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said that's not affecting things in the clubhouse.
"There's not one word that has been spoken about any of that, trades or whatever, in this clubhouse," he said. "Our front office is one that has always been one to make moves, and they're not afraid to do things. We've won a World Series because of that and getting (Aroldis) Chapman and some of the other guys we got. We don't put one ounce of thought into that. We're happy with the guys that we have here.
"The effort everyone puts out when they're on the field day in and day out is spectacular. We have a great group of guys here. Until someone's gone or whatever, we're going to play with what we've got and continue to play the way we have."
The other side of it:
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he doesn't mind the media asking players about trade rumors. He also says he feels for a young player such as Cubs prospect Addison Russell, whose name has been thrown into the rumor mill concerning Manny Machado.
"Of course," Maddon said. "I was talking before about a 24-year-old hitter. How about a 24-year-old human being having to process all of that? I'm sure it would (affect Russell). I would be that it would, absolutely. He would be robotic if it did not."