The umpires strike back: two more bad calls last night

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After the way the postseason has gone, everyone is watching the umpires closely, so it’s probably worth noting that they blew two calls last night.

First base ump Brian Gorman was wrong when
he called Chase Utley out at first on the double play that ended the top of
the eighth. It wasn’t Don Denkinger bad, but Utley was very clearly safe.  Not sure why neither Utley nor first base coach Davey Lopes argued the call, but maybe they’re just wise old zen masters who realize that nothing would have come of it.  Charlie Manuel wasn’t too pointed about it, but he did say the call was wrong after the game.  So too did Gorman: “On the replay it looked like there was a little bit of ball outside
[Teixeira’s] glove. It’s what we call a whacker.”

The other one, which Matthew noted in his recap, was when the ump ruled that Ryan Howard caught Johnny Damon’s liner and then doubled up Posada in the seventh. it looked like a short hop on the replay. The umps did not admit that that one was wrong after the game.

Like I said, neither of these were egregious, but after what we’ve witnessed in the past month, we’re pretty much obligated to point this stuff out.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.

While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.

As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.