Congratulations HBT readers: you’re officially my minions

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Jeff Pearlman unleashes a new load of incoherence over at SI today, explaining that it’s totally OK to ignore the concept of innocent until proven guilty when it comes to PEDs. Why? Because finding evidence of PED use is hard, man.  At least that’s what I take from it.  And he may be right.  Indeed, I went back and checked all of Pearlman’s baseball columns from the late 90s and early 00s for his expose about PEDs in the game and I couldn’t find any mention of the juice.  Those steroid-users are a wily bunch. They’ve even taken to erasing media archives!

But maybe I’m not being objective here. I might be blinded by … evil!

As NBC Sports’ Calcaterra rightly pointed out in a recent post, “There is just as much evidence against [stars like Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., Randy Johnson, etc.] as there is against Bagwell.” Again, the problem with the flawed logic of Calcaterra (one of the leaders of the leave-these-poor-guys-alone movement) and his minions is: There is no evidence. Against anyone. Because baseball made certain of it.

At least I think that makes me evil. At any rate I don’t know of any forces for good that have minions.  Oh well, I’ll accept that. Evil is way more fun anyway.

And don’t just sit there looking at me, minions. Go do minion things. Drag a fair maiden back to my lair or something. And for god’s sake, learn to shoot straight. I won’t be done dirty like Darth Vader was. If one Stormtrooper had half-decent aim that afternoon Luke, Han and Leia escaped the Death Star, he’d still be ruling the galaxy.

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.