The Red Sox are the newest team to throw their hats in the ring for Orioles third baseman/slugger Manny Machado, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported Friday. There’s no reason to believe a deal is imminent, or even that the Orioles intend to work out a trade prior to the 2018 season, but the two sides reportedly kicked around the idea earlier this week.
Of course, the Red Sox are just one of eight teams reportedly interested in the 25-year-old superstar, and may have the odds stacked against them as they try to acquire one of the game’s best players from their division rivals. Morosi points out that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Orioles GM Dan Duquette have a prior working relationship, one that could conceivably make trade talks more palatable, but significant roadblocks still stand in the way of any potential deal.
As with all other interested parties, the Red Sox would be expected to pony up a significant return for Machado, who is scheduled to hit free agency in 2019. They lack both the pitching depth and talent the Orioles are currently seeking in a trade, however, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com speculates that a package deal involving Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts or third baseman Rafael Devers would be somewhat far-fetched as well. While there’s no guarantee the Orioles will be motivated to finalize a deal before Opening Day rolls around, Morosi says they’ll continue to listen to offers — even the unorthodox ones — as the offseason drags on.
ESPN’s Keith Law has released his annual top-100 prospects list. According to Law, Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the number one prospect in baseball.
After blazing through High-A and Double-A ball last season, Acuna was the youngest player in Triple-A in 2017. He was 19 years-old all season long and put up a fantastic line of .335/.384/.534 in 486 plate appearances at Double and Triple-A. He then went on to star in the Arizona Fall League, leading that circuit in homers. Law, who is not one to throw hyperbolic comps around, says, “if Acuna stays in center and maxes out his power, he’s going to be among the best players in baseball, with a Mike Trout-ish profile.”
Acuna, who is 20 now, is likely play the bulk of the season in Atlanta, even if he’s kept down at Triple-A for the first couple of weeks of the season to manipulate his service time, er, I mean to allow him to develop his skills more fully. Or something. Given the presence of reigning Gold Glove center fielder Ender Inciarte, Acuna is not likely to man center for the Braves this year, but Law says he’d be a plus right field defender, which could make the Braves outfield Death to Flying Things in 2018. At least when Nick Markakis is not playing.
Number two on the list: Blue Jays third base prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As law notes, the name may be familiar but he’s not very much like his old man. Mostly because young Vlad can take a walk. Which is better, even if it’s nowhere near as fun as swinging at balls that bounce in the dirt first.
For the other 98, you’ll have to click through.