Will Target Field favor hitters or pitchers?

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During pregame workouts Michael Cuddyer held court with the media here at Target Field and speculated that the Twins’ new ballpark will prove fairly neutral in terms of impacting run scoring.
That’s pretty difficult to tell after one season, let alone one game, but today at least a few well-stuck fly balls died in the gaps–especially to left and left-center–and the wind seemingly didn’t aid much of anything.
“It played pretty fair today,” manager Ron Gardenhire noted afterward while adding that the ball seemed to travel much better during this afternoon’s batting practice and the Twins’ two exhibition games against the Cardinals. “Some days the ball is really flying.”
Early on the Metrodome earned the “Homer Dome” nickname, but in recent years it actually suppressed power and perhaps played as much into the Twins’ organizational philosophies as the turf did. This year’s Twins lineup has tons of power, but for the most part having a ballpark that favored pitching and suppressed power–or was at least neutral–would likely be good news.
In addition to preferring good athletes with line-drive swings for position players, under pitching coach Rick Anderson the Twins have typically had a strike-throwing, fly-ball dominant staff. The dimensions here at Target Field lean slightly toward hitter-friendly, but there are no real quirks in the design aside from an overhang in right field and, for one game at least, the wind was on the pitchers’ side.

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.