Nearly two years after he was almost perfect against the Indians, Armando Galarraga has signed a minor league contract with the Astros.
Galarraga owns a 4.69 ERA over 86 starts and nine relief appearances in the major leagues. The 30-year-old right-hander has a 5.10 ERA in 29 games since first base umpire Jim Joyce infamously blew his chance at history by missing a call on the would-be 27th out on June 2, 2010. He signed a minor league deal with the Orioles over the winter after spending last season in the Diamondbacks’ organization, but failed to make the team out of spring training.
Astros general manager Jeff Lunhow told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that Galarraga will throw a couple of bullpen sessions at the team’s complex in Kissimmee, Florida before joining the starting rotation with Triple-A Oklahoma City. The back-end of the Astros’ rotation has been problematic recently, so he has a chance of finding his way back to the big leagues this season. But we’ll probably always remember him for what could have been.
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.