Kevin Youkilis, Jhonny Peralta named to AL All-Star team

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The replacements for Alex Rodriguez (knee) and Derek Jeter (calf) are in, and they are the expected names.  Kevin Youkilis and Jhonny Peralta will take the open spots at third base and shortstop on the AL squad.

Adrian Beltre and Asdrubal Cabrera will replace Rodriguez and Jeter in the starting lineup.

Youkilis leads all major league third basemen with an .884 OPS this season.  He’s hit .275 with 12 homers and 59 RBI for the Red Sox, who moved one game ahead of A-Rod’s Yankees for first place in the AL East by beating Baltimore tonight.

Peralta has hit .313/.364/.533 for an .897 OPS that leads AL shortstops.  He’s homered 14 times and driven in 50 runs for a Tigers team that has pulled with a half-game of the Indians for first place in the AL Central.

So, the American League got these two right after the foolish choice of Jordan Walden as Mariano Rivera’s replacement and the NL’s decision to pick Andre Ethier over Andrew McCutchen in replacing Shane Victorino.

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.