That’s the word from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who writes that the Cardinals could use Juan Uribe at third base or shortstop.
Uribe, who turns 32 in March, batted .248/.310/.440 with 24 homers and 85 RBI this past season. And though he had a lousy .149 batting average during the playoffs, he also had his fair share of big hits, which will probably boost his value this winter.
If Uribe signs with St. Louis, I could see him being used in a similar role as he was in San Francisco. The Cardinals still hope David Freese can be their everyday third baseman eventually, but he is a question mark after undergoing procedures on both of his ankles late in the season. Uribe could function as insurance at the hot corner while also stepping in for Brendan Ryan at shortstop and Skip Schumaker at second.
Uribe isn’t the only possible solution, though. According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Tony La Russa and a front-office faction” have long pushed for the addition of Miguel Tejada, who is also a free agent this winter. The 36-year-old batted .269/.312/.381 with 15 homers and 71 RBI between the Orioles and Padres this past season, playing both third base and shortstop.
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.