Edwin Rodriguez is confident

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Today Edwin Rodriguez addressed his team for the first time this season. And since is the first time he’s been the manager at the outset of spring training, it’s the first time he’s ever gotten to do that whole set-the-tone thing.  And according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald,  the tone he set was optimistic:

“I can feel it. We’re going to be the last team standing come October.”

They’re actually probably not going to be the last team standing in October. The odds simply don’t favor most teams over “the field” when it comes to such matters.  But I don’t say that criticize Rodriguez for unwarranted optimism. I merely offer it to ask what, given what we know about any one team’s chances, is a manager is supposed to say in such instances?

Does the rah-rah thing work in baseball?  I’m skeptical. But is it any worse than soberly saying “I want us to play hard and, if we get the breaks, we could possibly win”?  That may have the benefit of being true, but it’s also not the way to kick off a season.

I guess what I’m saying is that managing looks hard. How you get your team ready, especially when you don’t have years of experience behind you or on your roster, has to be one of the more difficult things in the business.

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.