D'Backs looking to make Chase Field less hitter-friendly

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The Diamondbacks’ Chase Field is known as one of the most hitting-friendly ballparks in Major League Baseball with its short fences, massive center field batter’s eye and relatively high elevation. 

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the D’Backs are looking at ways to change that.

From messing with the dimensions to raising fences and even installing a Coors Field-like humidor, the club is considering all options.

“We do know that it’s an issue,” Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said Thursday. “The offense is unreal at
Chase Field. We have a launching pad now. We have a team that’s
hopefully going to be built around young pitching. We should look at
ways to reduce offense, especially from an opponents’ standpoint.”

The Reds play in a ballpark that lends itself to a lot of offense and have countered that by developing a well-rounded pitching staff.  Now they’re leading the National League Central and cursing toward their first playoff appearance since 1995. 

The Diamondbacks have not drafted well and have not made the right decisions in free agency, so instead they’re looking at other options.  Or excuses.  Whatever you want to call ’em.

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.