Even though he’s tied for the AL lead in victories with 10, Rangers import Yu Darvish doesn’t feel he’s done enough to represent the league in next month’s All-Star Game.
“But personally do I feel like I’m an All-Star? I don’t think so,” Darvish said through an interpreter Friday. “I’m also hearing that there’s a possibility I might start in an All-Star Game, and to me, that’s totally out of context, I think.”
Since the Rangers went to the World Series last year, Darvish’s manager, Ron Washington, will be in charge of picking the pitching staff. Still, Darvish seems to see the big picture and won’t mind not being picked.
“I think the fact that I’m Japanese, first year over here, the Texas Rangers paid a lot of money for me to come over here,” he said. “The fact that I’m an All-Star candidate, it’s more of a buildup of who I am and where I came from and the media creating this type (of hype).”
Darvish is certainly partly right, but the fact that he is tied for the league lead in wins and fourth in strikeouts would make him an All-Star candidate even if his name was John Smith. Plus, while he has been a bit of a disappointment in the ERA department, he still ranks 16th in the league despite working in a tough park for pitchers.
Still, Darvish certainly seems to mean well here. And by essentially taking himself out of the running, he’s aiding his teammate’s case for a spot: Matt Harrison is 10-3 with a 3.24 ERA, making him deserving of strong consideration.
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.