From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that the Diamondbacks have inked Cliff Pennington to a two-year, $5 million contract. The agreement covers the shortstop’s first two years of arbitration eligibility.
Pennington batted .215/.278/.311 with six homers, 18 doubles and 28 RBI in 462 plate appearances last season for the Athletics. He was traded to Arizona in late October — along with infield prospect Yordy Cabrera — in exchange for outfielder Chris Young.
Pennington will serve as a buffer at shortstop for the Snakes until Didi Gregorius is ready for the major leagues.
The 28-year-old former first-round pick is a .249/.313/.356 career hitter in the bigs.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.