6:25 p.m. EST update: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says the deal is done. Hairston will receive $6 million over two years, plus incentives, from the Dodgers. He’ll serve as a backup in both the infield and outfield, and he could push Juan Uribe for playing time at third base if Uribe struggles to bounce back from an awful 2011 season.
Ned Colletti: “Hey, Jerry. I think you’re great. I know there are a lot of teams out there who would love to have you around next season. I tell ya what I’m going to do. I’m going to offer you a two-year deal.”
Jerry Hairston Jr.: “Two years, Ned? I’m 35 years old, I’ve been in the big leagues 14 seasons and I’ve never had a multiyear deal. What’s the catch?”
Ned: “Catch? No catch. Well, I mean, you’ll have to settle for $1 million next year. But I can promise you a cool $5 million in 2012.”
Jerry: “OK, sure, why the heck not?”
Hairston is coming off one of his better years, having hit .270/.344/.383 in 337 at-bats for the Nationals and Brewers, and while he’s not much of a shortstop, his versatility does make him pretty valuable, even if it’s more the kind of value that leads teams to offer him one-year, $2 million contracts. If this gets done, it could potentially be the first time he’s spent two full years with the same team since his tenure with the Orioles ended after the 2004 season.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.