Felipe Lopez was pulled from last night’s game against the Blue Jays after failing to run out a ground ball in the 11th inning. It’s the second time this week that Lopez didn’t hustle to first base.
Rays manager Joe Maddon tells Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that Lopez is benched for today’s game as a form of punishment, but that the matter is resolved.
“He was great,” Maddon said. “I explained to him everything, he understood, he was not upset. I just want him to understand that’s how we do things here, and I’ve talked to him about it before. For us to be repeat AL East champs we’ve got to play the game a certain way, and that’s it.”
This is actually the second time Lopez has been benched by Maddon. He also took a seat after flipping his bat in the direction of the mound following a home run off White Sox left-hander Chris Sale on April 9.
Lopez has a history of wearing out his welcome pretty much everywhere he goes, hence him being forced to take a minor league deal this winter, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he gets the boot once Evan Longoria returns from the disabled list.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.