Kevin Kernan is down in Port St. Luice and he caught up with early spring training arrival David Wright. Wright opined about the Wilpon-Madoff mess:
“I’ve become very close with the Wilpon family over the years. They’ve done a lot for me. And I feel for them, just having to go through this. I called Jeff a few days ago just to let him know that I was thinking about him and if he needed anything from me, I’m there for him.”
Wilpon then asked David Wright for $300 million.
OK, maybe not. Wright went on:
“Getting down here and playing baseball you don’t have to listen to every day what’s going on in that situation. It’s almost like once you walk across these lines; it’s almost like a sanctuary. That’s one of the best things for me to get back out on the baseball field. You don’t have to think about everything.’’
The turmoil of a club’s business doesn’t impact the fans as directly as it does the members of a team, but it does affect us. And of course, most of us have stress and uncertainty of one form or another in our own lives. Spring training and baseball serves as a sanctuary for us too.
We’re a little over two weeks until actual spring training games start. The beauty of the electronic age allows us to watch a lot of them or, at the very least, follow them live in one way or another. When they do — or even when the mitts start popping next week — the world will be a better place.
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.