Machado, 30 in April, has spent the past two years with the Nats as a depth reliever, getting frequently optioned and recalled as needed. He’s thrown 95 innings over those two seasons with a solid 3.41 ERA. His 9.9% walk rate and 43.6% ground ball rate in that time were both roughly average, but his 18.3% strikeout rate was a few ticks below par.
Machado’s opponents have registered a .264 batting average on balls in play against him, which is on the low side. For example, the league average in 2022 was .289, a 25-point difference. A pitcher can sometimes earn a lower BABIP than average by minimizing hard contact, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Machado. Statcast only places him in the 23rd percentile among qualified pitchers in terms of average exit velocity, 15th in hard hit rate and 27th in barrel rate.
It’s possible that good luck was helping Machado keep earned runs off the board. Whether that’s true or not, he’s now out of options, giving the club less versatility in using him on the roster. They will now have a week to trade him or pass him through waivers. If another team were to acquire him, he has between one and two years of service time and has yet to reach arbitration. Though he hasn’t racked up huge strikeout numbers in the big leagues, he did average over 95 mph on his fastball in 2022. He also struck out 26.6% of Triple-A batters faced in the past two years.