Curt Schilling to skip Friday’s Fenway bash

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Curt Schilling’s video game responsibilities will prevent him from attending the 100th anniversary ceremonies at Fenway Park on Friday:

To Red Sox Nation,

I apologize that business at 38 Studios has made my participation in the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park impossible. Please understand that should in no way indicate my love and passion for Red Sox Nation. There was no greater feeling than standing on that mound, in that park, in front of you fans. The memories I was honored to be a part of, from David’s walk off HR in the 2004 ALDS, to going 4-0 in World Series games in that park, to the true honor of wearing that uniform every single day is something I am blessed to have, and will never forget.

I was and always have been opinionated, and unafraid to share my opinion, and for that I accept whatever it is you think of me. But please know that when I had the ball in my hand I gave the team, and you, every ounce of everything I had to get a “W”. It was an honor to wear the uniform, and compete with the incredible team and teammates I was allowed to.

Every great memory I have in that uniform is because of the people that paid to watch us play, and I will be forever grateful to you for that.

Thank you and God Bless
Curt Schilling

Some of Schilling’s recent comments have been poorly received by Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine, but this looks more like a simple scheduling conflict than anything else. Despite the dropouts, it still figures to be a star-studded affair tomorrow.

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.