Adam Wainwright’s ERA actually went down this afternoon, but he continues to struggle in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Wainwright allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings in a 6-3 loss to the Reds. While he struck out five and walked just one, he also allowed two homers and averaged just under 90 mph on his fastball (thanks to Brooks Baseball for the data).
Wainwright is now 0-3 over his first three starts and has a 9.88 ERA and 14/4 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 innings. He has already served up five homers after giving up an average of 14 per season from 2007-2010.
While it’s not unusual for pitchers to struggle with their command following Tommy John surgery, giving up free passes and/or leaving pitches up or in the middle of the strike zone, it’s a bit troubling that Wainwright’s velocity has seemingly declined from his solid showing during spring training. The Cardinals are off to a fast start at 9-4, so this is hardly panic time, but three of their losses have come in Wainwright’s outings.
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.