Randy Galloway of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram drops a bomb in last night’s column: Ron Washington and the Rangers were being blackmailed over his positive cocaine test.
Galloway reports that numerous team sources have confirmed that the blackmailer — a team employee who was fired in the offseason — was making
“strong demands.” The obvious upshot: if the demands were not met, Washington’s cocaine story makes national news. Some
of the demands were met, Galloway reports, but the club balked at personally giving the
former employee a recommendation letter and one
other request, which Galloway either doesn’t know about or simply won’t say. Galloway says that by January “the former employee was
bad-mouthing Washington around north Arlington.”
Galloway says “[b]lackmailer was
real unhappy,” and that all was still quiet until this week when Washington received a
call “from a national baseball writer saying he had the Ron-does-dope
details.” That national baseball writer would be Jon Heyman, the man who broke the story, wouldn’t it? I trust he didn’t know that his tipster — if that is indeed where he got the story — was a blackmailer as opposed to any other team-connected source.
There’s also no word here that the police were ever involved, but if what Galloway is saying is true, the Rangers should have alerted them.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.