Diagnosed with “a small fracture” in two ribs yesterday, Josh Hamilton told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that he hopes to play four or five of the Rangers’ remaining 12 games.
That means he’d have to rejoin the lineup by the middle of next week, which seems unlikely given that there’s no timetable yet for his return and Hamilton is expected to sit out at least the rest of this week after receiving an epidural injection and several cortisone shots.
Here’s more from Hamilton:
It’s almost a relief to know there was such pain for a reason. I got the injections and I already feel better. We’ll know for sure in the next few days if this will help. The biggest thing is pain management. The only thing to worry about making it worse is hitting the wall again in the exact spot, Swinging is not going to make it worse, throwing is not going to make it worse and running isn’t going to make it worse.
Obviously seeing some game action before the playoffs begin would be nice, but rusty or not having Hamilton as healthy as possible for October games should be the goal for Texas and giving him an extra week to rest may help accomplish that. Hamilton leads the league in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.635), and OPS (1.049) while ranking second in on-base percentage (.414) and fourth in homers (31) despite missing 20 games.
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.