The other day Lance Berkman said that Bud Selig “extorted” Jim Crane into moving the Astros to the American League. It was kind of surprising to hear Berkman using such charged language. He seems more like a “gosh, that’d be swell” kind of guy, not the sort of guy who ruffles feathers like that.
Well, he must have thought about it a bit and agrees, because he had a conversation with Selig yesterday and apologized:
“It was a good conversation,” Berkman said Thursday night. “I basically apologized for using the word ‘extortion.’ I had a chance to tell him where I was coming from and he had a chance to explain where he was coming from” … The loquacious Berkman and Selig exchanged views for about 10 minutes. Berkman said the conversation ended amicably after he sensed the commissioner was “a little disappointed and maybe a little hurt” over his usage of a word suggesting a felony.
Why do I get the impression that the “exchange of views” was about 98% Selig explaining to Berkman how the world works and 2% of Berkman saying “yes sir, sorry sir”?
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.