Can Magic Johnson play third base?

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Because Juan Uribe is looking pretty much cooked.

Fresh off an inaugural season with the Dodgers in which he hit .204/.264/.293 with four homers in 270 at-bats, Uribe is batting .231/.286/.282 in 39 at-bats this spring. It’s also a safe guess he wasn’t the subject of any “best shape of his life” articles after reporting to camp.

Uribe is only entering the second year of that ridiculous three-year, $21 million contract that Ned Colletti gave him last season, so the Dodgers are pretty much handing him a starting job at third base. They might well be better off with Jerry Hairston Jr. or Josh Fields there, though.

The Dodgers enter the season seemingly assured of below average production at third, second and behind the plate, and things also aren’t so rosy at first base or in left field. It’s going to be up to Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw to carry the load again, but there is one good sign: Andre Ethier is having a terrific spring (.390/.435/.878 in 41 AB) and seems poised to give the Dodgers a legitimate bat behind Kemp in the order.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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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.