With the First-Year Player Draft coming up on Thursday, we should probably prepare ourselves for a lot of Kendrys Morales coverage this week. After we heard earlier today that the Yankees are “believed to have reached out to” Morales, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman now reports that the Royals are “weighing a run” at him.
It makes sense in theory, as the Royals are really struggling for offense. But they’d need to clear money to sign him. And while we heard rumors over the winter about the club shopping Billy Butler, teams could be hesitant to deal for him (and pay him the $6 million left on his contract for this year and either a $1 million buyout or $12.5 million club option for next year) considering that he’s batting just .241 with one home run and .609 OPS in 56 games this season.
So, basically, the Royals would have to deal someone like Butler and possibly outbid the Yankees to sign Morales. Crazier things have happened, but it sounds unlikely.
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.