Home plate umpire Marty Foster had a tight strike zone in last night’s Phillies-Giants game. It peeved Roy Halladay a good bit. Then in the fifth inning he walked Aubrey Huff on five pitches, and ball four was one Halladay did not believe was a ball (and he was right). Then, according to Matt Gelb’s report, this happened:
Roy Halladay snatched the throw from Carlos Ruiz and didn’t flinch. His eyes were focused on Foster, the home-plate umpire, in the fifth inning of Monday’s 5-2 Phillies win over the San Francisco Giants.
Foster noticed the death stare. He said something to Halladay, who barked back. Then Halladay pointed to make his anger totally clear.
That normally kills a pitcher. But when you’re Roy Halladay, you’re the one who does the intimidating. Next batter Brandon Belt: a five-pitch strikeout with strike three looking. And strike three was nowhere near the strike zone, but the ump gave it to Halladay anyway.
After the game Halladay said that he wasn’t yelling at Foster, he was simply having a miscommunication with his catcher.
Sure he was.
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.