Brewers just barely pretending that Livan Hernandez is still a pitcher

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There’s a long story about all the things Livan Hernandez brings to the Brewers in today’s Journal-Sentinel.

There’s an extended bit about how he’s jovial and well-liked and can help hitters figure out how pitchers pitch them and stuff. Normally such a person is called a coach, but that’s OK.  But really, Doug Melvin, tell us about Livan’s pitching prowess:

“He’s a veteran guy who can take the ball,” said general manager Doug Melvin. “He can take the abuse if he has to on certain nights, but we also think he can get people out. He gives you a little bit different look for our bullpen, too.”

Parsing:

He’s a veteran guy: “That’s a factual statement. I would technically be lying if I claimed Hernandez to be a rookie.”

Who can take the ball: “He is not insubordinate and has at least one hand.”

He can take the abuse if he has to on certain nights: “On other nights he can’t take the inevitable abuse he will receive. Really, it’s about coping for him.”

But we also think he can get people out: “It’s a bonus if he does the one job the pitcher is supposed to do. Gravy, really.”

He gives you a little bit different look for our bullpen, too: “Indeed, we haven’t had anyone with his distinct look since we sent Bob Wickman away in the Richie Sexson deal.”

After the interview, Melvin found the media relations guy and fined him $50 for making him actually answer questions about the value a castoff mopup man brings to the team.

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.