I’m not sure anyone anywhere really thinks Alex Rodriguez playing high-stakes poker is a big deal, but with MLB repeatedly telling him to stop gambling and his involvement in Hollywood home games making headlines recently you’d think he might at least give it a rest for a while.
Instead the New York Post reports that Rodriguez “was spotted last Monday in a high-stakes gaming room at the Mohegan Sun Casino in the Poconos” while rehabbing his surgically repaired knee with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team at Triple-A.
That’s perfectly legal, of course, and Rodriguez is surely far from the only MLB player to gamble for high stakes in a casino, but that tells you how little he cares about MLB’s warnings.
When asked about the Post‘s report Rodriguez denied that he played poker, calling it “laughable” and “completely false.” And that might be true, as the high-stakes room he reportedly spent a couple hours in is mostly used for blackjack and slot machines. Either way, Bud Selig and company probably aren’t too happy and Rodriguez clearly couldn’t care less.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.
While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.
Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.
As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.