The Dusty Baker anecdote you could have gone your whole life without hearing

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FOX’s Jon Paul Morosi passes along an anecdote about Dusty Baker’s final dark days as the Cubs’ manager that, I am quite certain, is unique in the history of Major League Baseball:

“At the very end, somebody took a dump right where I stood in the dugout every day,” Baker said Monday morning. “That was the low point. The grounds crew guy cleaned it up. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s dog crap.’ I said, ‘No it ain’t. That’s human crap.’”

Dusty doesn’t know who did it. I find it hard to believe that a fan is gonna schlep a bag of crap to the ballpark.  And even if the plan was, um, put together in a bathroom in Wrigley Field, there would be too many other fans who would see the drop.  No: this was an inside job. A player or a coach did it in the wee small hours of the morning before Duty Baker made his way to the dugout.

But who did it?  Looking at the roster of the 2006 Cubs suggests all manner of suspects. Michael Barrett wasn’t well-liked on that team.  Todd Walker had his share of attitude issues during his career. Greg Maddux has a history of scatalogical pranksterism.  Really, it could have been anyone!  Well, maybe not Neifi Perez. That dude practically owed his career to Baker. He’d probably take a bullet for the guy.

The real question is whether anyone saved the evidence.  Because while it’s likely not possible now, I’m sure someday technology will help us make a positive ID.

Anyone?

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.