ESPN's Phillips admits affair, takes leave of absence

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In what might be his last official act as an ESPN employee, Steve Phillips released the following statement following today’s New York Post story that claimed he slept with a 22-year-old ESPN production assistant:
“I am deeply sorry that I have put my family and colleagues through this. It is a personal matter that I will not comment on further. I have, however, asked for a leave of absence to address this with my family and to avoid any unnecessary distractions through the balance of the baseball playoffs.”
It seems awfully unlikely that ESPN will bring Phillips back next year, and it’s hard to imagine any other outlet will be quick to hire a talking head whose lack of baseball acumen might actually be one of his lesser flaws.

The Orioles are “moving aggressively” to trade Manny Machado

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.

Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.