FIU baseball player Garrett Wittels arrested and charged with rape in the Bahamas

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Remember last summer when Florida International shortstop Garrett Wittels hit in 56 straight games? And remember how the streak is still alive because his team got eliminated from the NCAA tournament?  Yeah, well, he has other things on his mind at the moment:

Florida International University baseball star Garrett Wittels and a group of friends were arrested in the Bahamas last week and charged with the rape of two 17-year-old girls. The incident happened at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Nassau on Dec. 20. Wittels and two friends were released on $10,000 bond after a court hearing Thursday.

Wittels’ father is quoted in the article saying it’s a frame-up, perpetrated by a couple of girls taking advantage of Wittels’ fame. We obviously have no idea.

Wittles stands two-games shy of Robin Ventura’s NCAA record hitting streak.  It’s unclear if his arrest will have any impact on his ability to begin the 2011 season.

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.