Admission of lack of effort surprising

PITTSBURGH — Manny Machado is being paid $16 million to play baseball. Effort is not necessarily part of that package.

Machado, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, did an interview with Ken Rosenthal last week that is remarkable for being both candid and clueless.

Machado, 26, admitted to Rosenthal that he doesn’t always put forth maximum effort.

“There’s no excuse for it, honestly,” he said. “Obviously I’m not going to change. I’m not the type of player who’s going to be Johnny Hustle and run down the line. That’s not my personality. That’s not my cup of tea. That’s not who I am.”

Machado has a lot more talent than he has sense, which will serve him well as he hits the free agent market in a few weeks. Someone will likely be willing to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars to play for their team, knowing they won’t always get his best effort.

It’s not like Machado has exactly spilled a secret. Baseball has a bunch of players who don’t always exert themselves. Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets is a known slacker. The Pirates’ Starling Marte gives a sporadic effort, which actually got him benched for a game this season.

Ex-Pirate Bill Madlock, a four-time batting champion, was known for conserving his energy.

Mike Piazza is in the Hall of Fame even though he often didn’t run out ground balls, and had the bad habit of standing at home plate to admire possible home runs — even when they didn’t clear the fence.

Will this admission cost Machado free agent money? Doubtful. Teams have made their peace with understanding there’s often good and bad. Machado will be productive enough to offset the times when his manager would like to strangle him.

Machado will likely do fine as he hunts a new contract. The team that signs him just shouldn’t expect Johnny Hustle to be part of the deal.

Back in play?

Dave Littlefield was interviewed by the Mets for their vacant general manager position.

The New York Post labeled Littlefield a “fringe” candidate who is unlikely to get a second interview.

Whatever, this is the first time he’s been known to be under consideration for a GM job since the Pirates cashiered him on Sept. 7, 2007.

His nearly six-year stay with the Pirates is largely remembered as a disaster, and not without justification. He was, of course, hampered by a limited budget and Kevin McClatchy’s insistence that he do whatever seemed necessary to end that infernal streak of losing seasons. Thus, the Pirates wound up with Jeromy Burnitz for $6 million a year when they were actually better served by Nate McLouth at a fraction of that price.

Littlefield has worked continuously in baseball since leaving the Pirates. He scouted for the Cubs, then moved on to Detroit. He spent the last three years as the Tigers vice president of player development.

At 58, Littlefield can stay on that track, which offers a six-figure salary, low profile and minimal pressure. Unless he’s aching to be a GM again, there’s little reason to jump back in a job that requires nearly 24/7 commitment.

Solve the mystery

Once you figure out when they’re playing and what channel they’re on, you can watch the MLB playoffs.

Up in smoke

The Penguins are on an extended trip to Canada at the same time recreational marijuana has been legalized in that country.

Go back about 40 years, and there were a certain number of Penguins players who would have been very reluctant to leave Canada at the end of the trip under those circumstances.

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