Barry Zito couldn’t get anyone out in an exhibition season that saw him give up 17 runs and 32 hits in 19 1/3 innings and ditch his experimental windup. The Rockies, though, were frustrated by him all day Monday.
Zito pitched his first shutout since 2003, allowing just four hits and walking none, in a 7-0 victory for the Giants.
Zito’s gem followed up a weekend in which the Giants were swept by the Diamondbacks, with Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain combining to give up 14 runs in 15 1/3 innings.
Zito completed just two games in his first five years with the Giants. His last shutout came in his fourth or seven years with the A’s. He had four career shutouts before turning into more of a six- and seven-inning pitcher beginning with the 2004 season. He went 3-4 with a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and four relief appearances for San Francisco last year.
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.