Two years ago Evan Meek was an All-Star, but yesterday the Pirates demoted the 28-year-old right-hander to the minors after he allowed runs in four of nine outings to begin the season.
To call Meek a former All-Star is technically correct and also fairly misleading, since even in that 2010 season he was basically just a good setup man who got the nod as the Pirates’ representative.
However, it’s also worth noting that his performance early on this season was hardly disastrous enough to warrant a demotion to Triple-A at age 28 and with five years of big-league experience under his belt.
He posted a 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings, but had a solid 6/1 K/BB ratio and Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that his velocity has risen recently after Meek missed much of last season with injuries. Deserved or not Meek took the demotion in stride, saying all the right things and talking about how the Pirates “are giving me opportunities to get back to where we need to be.”
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.