We have our first comments from Manny Ramirez following his shocking retirement yesterday.
The enigmatic slugger spoke with Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes and said the following:
“I’m at ease,” Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com via phone from his home in Miami. “God knows what’s best [for me]. I’m now an officially retired baseball player. I’ll be going away on a trip to Spain with my old man.”
From Ramirez’s comments, I wouldn’t be surprised if we never see the guy again.
Ramirez, who was suspended for 50 games in 2009 for violating the drug policy in 2009, tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during spring training. Had he went ahead with the process, he would have been the first player ever to be suspended twice for performance-enhancing drugs under the new testing program. Ramirez had a lot of impressive accolades during his career, but that’s not what you want to walk away with.
Stay weird, Manny.
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.