Jonathan Lucroy had never hit cleanup before being penciled in there against the Twins and Jason Marquis on Sunday. The Brewers might want to leave him there for a while.
Lucroy hit his third and fourth homers of the season and drove in a career-high seven runs as part of a 16-4 rout of Minnesota. His grand slam in the seventh was the first of his career.
The big game gave Lucroy the pretty remarkable total of 27 RBI in 37 games this season. He drove in a total of 26 runs in 75 games as a rookie in 2010, and he finished with 59 RBI in 136 games last year.
It also means two of the four seven-RBI days by major leaguers this season have come from National League catchers. Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz also knocked in seven runs against the Braves on May 2. Carlos Beltran and Josh Hamilton (eight RBI on his four-homer day) have also had seven-RBI games.
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.