Matt Wieters to be placed on disabled list Friday

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From Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun comes word that the Orioles plan to place young catcher Matt Wieters on the 15-day disabled list before their season resumes Friday against the Blue Jays.

Wieters, 24, strained his right hamstring just a few days before the All-Star break and did not make enough progress this week. The Orioles are expected to start Craig Tatum on most nights while Wieters is out and Jake Fox will back him up in the event of an emergency.  Josh Bell could be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to provide depth on the infield.

Wieters was considered a disappointment last season when he hit .288/.340/.412 with nine homers and 43 RBI in 354 at-bats after an early-season promotion to the big leagues.  This year, he has been worse. 

Through 269 at-bats, the former No. 5 overall pick has posted a .245 batting average, a .315 on-base percentage, six home runs and only 29 RBI.  The guy was a .343/.438/.576 hitter over a year-plus in the minor leagues and flashed power potential that has not at all translated to the majors.

He will be eligible to return from the disabled list on July 25.  Perhaps the rest will help.

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.