No one is sure when Matt Cain will pitch for the Giants again

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After letting Matt Cain pitch (poorly) through a “cranky” elbow since spring training the Giants finally shut him down yesterday, placing him on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

So how long will he be out? No one seems to have a firm grasp on that yet. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that an MRI exam ruled out ulnar collateral ligament damage, so Tommy John surgery isn’t believed to be necessary, but Cain and manager Bruce Bochy basically said “who knows” when asked anything beyond that.

Cain has apparently been pitching through “loose bodies” in his elbow for four seasons now and it finally got bad enough to hurt his performance and then get him shut down. Of course, Cain refuses to talk to reporters about any injury stuff and actually claimed that the elbow problems were a new thing. So yeah … who knows.

Cain is still owed nearly $70 million on his contract and for now at least everyone involved seems against the idea of a relatively simple “clean up” procedure that would knock him out for six weeks, which suggests the Giants may still believe he can pitch again this season if rest and rehab works.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.

While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.

As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.