Yu Darvish racked up 14 strikeouts in 7.2 innings against the Diamondbacks yesterday, giving him an MLB-leading 105 on the season. Darvish totaled 221 strikeouts in 191.1 innings last year, which is a ton, but the Rangers right-hander taken his bat-missing to another level this year.
Darvish leads MLB with 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be baseball’s highest strikeout rate since Randy Johnson averaged 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 2001.
Darvish is on pace for 315 strikeouts in 33 starts, which would be the most since Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) in 2002.
Darvish is on track to become just the third 26-year-old in baseball history to reach 300 strikeouts, joining Nolan Ryan with 383 in 1973 and Rube Waddell with 302 in 1903.
And as a Minnesotan, this is the most painful stat: Darvish has 105 strikeouts in 11 starts this season. Minnesota’s entire starting rotation has a grand total of 122 strikeouts in 48 starts.
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.