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Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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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.

Hunter Pence exits game with groin injury

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Rangers OF/DH Hunter Pence exited Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after suffering an apparent injury chasing down a ground-rule double hit by José Peraza in the fifth inning. The beat writers are suggesting it’s a groin injury, but we’ll have to wait for the Rangers to provide an update to know for sure.

Update:

Pence was 1-for-2 with a two-run home run on the afternoon before suffering the injury. He’s had a rebirth of a season, batting .294/.353/.608 with 15 home runs, 48 RBI, and 44 runs scored in 215 plate appearances.

Shin-Soo Choo and Pence were sharing both the DH spot and left field. If Pence needs to go on the injured list, Danny Santana would likely see an uptick in playing time, particularly in left field.