The Rangers are interested in Jim Thome

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Buster Olney reports that the Rangers are “actively trying to lure” Jim Thome to Texas.  I think all teams who negotiate with players are “actively trying to lure” them, but thank you to Buster for livening up the vocabulary on this Monday afternoon.

Thome would be an interesting fit in Texas. Like all big power hitters, you figure he’d love to mash taters in the Ballpark at Arlington.  With Michael Young hitting against lefties and Thome against righties, the Rangers would likely get more production from the DH slot than anyone next season (Young will get plate appearances from other positions too).  It’d be a great signing if the Rangers can “lure” him.

The only question is price. Thome says he wants to make up for what he didn’t make last season, when he was a bargain at $2 million.  Given that the Rangers paid Vlad Guerrero $5.5 million this past year, it’s not like they have some unlimited DH budget.  Of course, they’re gonna sell a lot more tickets in 2011. And Thome could be a difference maker for them.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.

While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.

As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.