Frank McCourt said to have “no chance” to make the June 30 payroll

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Frank McCourt scrimped and saved — wait, no he didn’t; he borrowed — to make payroll at the end of May.  He is said to be fine for the mid-June payroll due tomorrow too, so good for him.  That business with the Manny Ramirez payment coming due at the end of the month, however, makes things dire, one would think.

Yep: according to Bill Shaikin, the Dodgers have “no chance” to meet the June 30 payroll unless that Fox contract is approved. That according to a person “familiar with McCourt’s finances but not authorized to discuss them.”

So, it may take a month longer than expected, but barring an unexpected court ruling in the next two weeks (a) barring Jamie McCourt from objecting to the Fox deal; and (b) ruling that Major League Baseball has no right to approve or disapprove of Dodgers financial decisions, McCourt is going to lose his team at the end of the month.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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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.