Yankees activate Rafael Soriano from disabled list

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Rafael Soriano is back from the disabled list after being sidelined since mid-May with an elbow injury.

Joe Girardi once indicated that he’d turn right back to Soriano as the Yankees’ primary eighth-inning guy when healthy, but he seems to have softened on that stance somewhat recently and it’s hard to imagine David Robertson losing the main setup gig given how dominant he’s been in front of Mariano Rivera.

Robertson has a 1.41 ERA overall this season, including allowing just four earned runs in 28 appearances since Soriano went down. Prior to the injury Soriano had a 5.40 ERA in 16 appearances, although he’d turned in five consecutive scoreless outings before the DL stint.

Various reports from Soriano’s rehab stint in the minors had him showing good velocity, but he allowed four runs in 4.1 innings between high Single-A and Triple-A, serving up a pair of homers. Soriano is making $10 million this season with another $25 million due over the next two years, but for a while at least he might just be the game’s highest-paid middle reliever.

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.