When the Twins traded Jim Thome to the Indians in late August they received “a player to be named later or cash” in return and over the weekend Minnesota picked the money.
General manager Bill Smith explained that he’d discussed some names of prospects with the Indians, but ultimately decided the Twins would rather have $20,000 than a player.
First of all, I really hope none of the players Minnesota passed up for $20,000 ever find out about it, because that would be pretty demoralizing. And beyond that, the thought of one MLB team with a $50 million payroll sending another MLB team with a $115 million payroll a check for $20,000 seems fairly silly.
Basically the Twins just gave Thome to the Indians, or perhaps more accurately let Thome go to a quasi-contender for nothing.
Thome has hit just .258 with two homers and a .725 OPS in 16 games since the trade and the Indians quickly ceased being in contention following his arrival, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that he’s probably been worth $20,000 in additional ticket (or beer or “Thome” jersey”) sales.
Perhaps the Twins figured the $20,000 could at least pay for some of those “wind-up walker” dolls.
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.