UPDATE: It’s official: Hayhurst has signed a minor league deal with the Rays. We know this from a news release. We know it more colorfully from Hayhurt’s own tweet:
Why hello there, Tampa fans. My name is Dirk. My hobbies include writing, speaking, pretending to be a giant firebreathing giraffe/moose.
Oh, Fortuna, please let him make the team.
Thursday, 2:06 PM: Hurm. Rob’s tweet was taken down. Perchance this was premature exuberance. Here’s hoping the best for Dirk regardless.
Thursday, 1:39 PM: Rob Neyer reports — and last night I’m pretty sure the man himself hinted — that Dirk Hayhurst of “Bullpen Gospels” fame is going to sign with the Rays. I’m hoping Hayhurst does well in Tampa Bay, makes the team and sticks in The Show for a while, because he’s an awesome guy.
But really, this may be more notable for its literary implications than anything else. Hayhurst no doubt has another book in him. Friend of HBT Jonah Keri has a book about the Rays coming out very, very soon. How awesome would it be if Hayhurst learns all kinds of neat things about the Rays from the inside and subsequently writes his own book about them, totally debunking what Jonah writes? It would be the most awesome baseball nerd fight of all time. I hereby proclaim HardballTalk as neutral territory where Dirk and Jonah can argue about it all.
Or maybe not. Either way, good look Garfoose.
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.