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Manny Machado on the Orioles: "I hope they keep me here for long-term"

The Orioles are still going to have to come up with a lot of money to sign Manny Machado long into the future, but it's encouraging when he says of the O's: "I hope they keep me here for long-term."

For a minute on Tuesday morning, the sun broke through the clouds in the Baltimore area, shining down golden rays of hope on every Orioles fan who was paying attention. Then a chorus from above began to sing in the voice of Manny Machado, and this is what they said: "I hope (the Orioles) keep me here a long time."

This offseason, one of the biggest anxieties for O's fans has not been a question that will face the team in 2016. Looming three years in the distance, far away and yet so close, is Machado's free agency. It's hard to envision a scenario where the O's can keep the good times rolling long term. So when he made that comment to O's media as part of his remarks on Tuesday morning, that's a big load off of the chest.

It's important not to get too carried away by the remark, of course. The fact that Machado expresses some interest in sticking around in Baltimore is an important first step. If he didn't want to come back, if he was already counting up the money he might get as a free agent, he would say something different and that would be that.

A Machado who was signalling that he would peel out of Baltimore as soon as possible would sound a lot like Bryce Harper sounded when musing about his own free agency period that's three seasons down the road. Harper was asked by a New York reporter, had he ever thought about being on the Yankees? Because if you write for the New York Post, you think that's a good question, I guess. Never mind the douchiness inherent in the inquiry. Check out Harper's response:

"I have the ‘W' on my chest for the next three years. I'm very humbled to put the ‘W' on my chest each and every day. I love the nation's capital. I love DC. It gives me chills thinking about it right now. It's such a monumental town, and I look forward to playing there every single day for the next three years. That's what's on my mind right now.''

That's the polite way a player says, "I'm totally gone." He could have paid at least token lip service to wanting to stay, to hoping the Nationals are able to offer enough money to where he can stay there, something like that. Nope.

Although Machado said he hopes the Orioles keep him for a long time, he also sounded like someone who knows that won't be cheap for the O's to do. Asked about the contract given to Chris Davis, Machado told reporters that it "brings out hope" because he "knows they've got the money" to keep him around. It's going to surely be a lot of money needed.

He's not wrong that it's a positive sign about remaining here that the O's are shelling out to keep their guys. Will it happen, though? "Hopefully they come up with something and we can make something happen." Translation: He hasn't shut the door, but the O's will have to sign a big check to keep him.

No one could say Machado hasn't earned the right to expect a big payday. He's only 23 years old and he still managed to be the best player on the Orioles last year. Barring someone surprisingly passing him, or Machado suffering an injury of some kind, he'll probably be the best player on this year's and next year's Orioles, too.

Machado's not the only one hoping the O's keep him long term. Everyone else in Birdland is hoping for the same thing. It's still a long way from happening or being a sure thing, but the early signs are positive. That's still something.