UPDATE: Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe via email that Crawford hasn’t asked for permission and that the team is monitoring the situation.
According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Cherington also said that any decision on surgery will be based on the well being of the player, not the team’s place in the standings.
2:52 PM: Carl Crawford has been playing with a bum elbow for a while and now that the Red Sox are all but out of the playoff race, he’s ready to shut things down.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Crawford is planning to ask the Red Sox to allow him to have Tommy John surgery next week.
Crawford began this season on the disabled list following January surgery on his left wrist, but he was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow in April. He finally made his season debut on July 16 and is hitting .287/.313/.500 with three home runs, 19 RBI and an .813 OPS in 29 games played, but surgery was reportedly considered an inevitability.
Crawford’s first two years in Boston have been a bust, but if he undergoes the surgery now, he has a better chance of being ready for 2013. Tommy John surgery usually requires around 12 months of recovery time for pitchers, but position players can come back sooner. Crawford, 31, still has five years and $102.5 million left on his contract.
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.