Matt Holliday has been sidelined since March 9 with a with an intercostal strain on his right side. He was supposed to return to action last Thursday, but didn’t. He was supposed to return this weekend, but again he did not.
Well, according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Holliday will be in the lineup for Monday’s spring exhibition game against the Red Sox and may even play left field. The slugger, who signed a seven-year, $120 million contract extension this winter, participated in intensive batting practice and base-running drills on Saturday and Sunday and was deemed ready for live games by the Cardinals’ medical staff. He told the Post-Dispatch that he will only require 20-to-30 at-bats to get his timing right for the regular season.
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.