All indications are that Brian Wilson will undergo Tommy John surgery — he certainly seemed resigned to the possibility yesterday — but there’s no guarantee that’s what will be advised this week.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Wilson was diagnosed with a “moderate” sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. He does not have a full tear and there are pitchers who opt to rehab the injury rather than have surgery.
Wilson traveled to Southern California today to get an opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum and he’ll visit Dr. James Andrews in Florida on Wednesday. We should know something definitive by the end of the week.
Assuming Wilson ultimately opts for surgery, he will miss the rest of the season and perhaps the early part of next season. The Giants could have a tough decision ahead of them under this scenario, as he is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. As Baggarly noted yesterday, the Giants could offer him a 20 percent (maximum) pay cut, meaning a $6.4 million salary for 2013, or they could non-tender him and potentially bring him back at a lower salary. Of course, non-tendering him would give him the option of testing the open market.
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.