The Yankees have been so good recently that it’s actually news when they lose a game.
After winning 10 straight games, the Bombers were cut down 4-3 by the Braves last night. The Yankees had plenty of chances, especially early on against Tim Hudson, but went just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They also had two runners thrown out at the plate.
Hudson was shaky in the victory, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and five walks over five innings. Fortunately for the Braves, the bullpen came up big, as Chad Durbin, Jonny Venters, Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel combined to give up just one hit over four innings of shutout relief. Jason Heyward drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth inning with a hard-hit single which deflected off Mark Teixeira’s left heel.
And so, the Yankees fell short of their first 11-game winning streak since 1985. Of course, that hasn’t stopped them from making the playoffs in 16 out of the last 17 seasons. The Yankees will enter play this afternoon at 41-26, two and a half games in front of the Orioles in the American League East.
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.