Brandon Wood to get the nod at third for Anaheim

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Mike Scioscia more or less confirmed what folks who think a lot about baseball had been hoping for: Brandon Wood will break Angels’ camp as the starting third baseman.  There had been concerns that the three-year, $10-million deal the club gave to Maicer Izturis this winter would serve to block Wood. Again.  Scioscia says, however, that he’s “looking for [Wood] to get the first opportunity there, with Izzy helping
out with the versatility he brings to play second, third and shortstop.”

Wood hasn’t been
consistent in his multiple cups of coffee over the past three years, but he has simply raked
down on the farm. He has power. He has nothing left to prove at AAA. The Angels need to play him now or lose him forever. I’m high on him, so I’m happy to see that he’s getting a shot at regular playing time.  The only question now is, if Wood struggles early, how short a leash Scioscia will have with him.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.