The Winter Meetings are coming

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As we plow into the offseason, it’s a good time to remember that the biggest hot stove event is the Winter Meetings. They’re going to be in Dallas this year from December 5-8, though most people show up on Sunday the 4th.

It’s a nutso kind of thing, whether you’re actually on-site or whether you’re just glued to your computer watching the deals go down.  And they do go down sort of whenever. Last year one of the big deals — I think the Jayson Werth signing, but it’s all a blur — happened as everyone was still trying to find their media credentials on Sunday afternoon. The Carl Crawford signing broke at about 11pm one evening. Which taught me a very important lesson: if Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe is walking with purpose toward the media room at 11pm, follow him rather than continuing on to the bar for overpriced Knob Creek.

Anyway, I’ll be there again this year, doing my best not to get arrested, evicted, punched or embarrassed (I promise I’ll avoid at least two of those).  If you ever had any notions of going, Maury has a comprehensive primer and information post over at Biz of Baseball that tells you everything you need to know.

Here’s hoping Yu Darvish is posted but not yet signed by the time the Meetings go down. I miss my 350 friends in the Japanese sporting press and I want to see the entirety of their tenacious power unleashed.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

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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.