The first day of the Winter Meetings came and went without much in the way of fireworks, but there is a powder keg on the horizon that could be ready to explode at a moment’s notice.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, the Philadelphia Phillies are one of the “more interested parties” when it comes to a possible deal for superstar third baseman Manny Machado. This isn’t the first time that Machado’s name has been mentioned in the rumor mill, as there were questions last summer surrounding Baltimore’s mindset on trading their franchise star. However, things seem to have reached a point now where we’re getting an idea of what it could potentially take.
Kubatko notes that the O’s “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez of the Phillies farm system. He also goes on to add that break-out infielder Scott Kingery, and shortstop Freddy Galvis could both be involved in a potential Machado trade. Interestingly, the report goes on to mention that a deal would require a 72-hour window for the Phils to hammer out an extension with Manny and his agent.
Assuming that just the three players mentioned in Kubatko’s piece are the ones at play, it may seem to some as a light return, on paper. While that belief is completely up to interpretation, let’s look at what it is about these players that could entice the O’s.
Sanchez, 18, delivered a breakout 2017 campaign with Single-A Lakewood. Compiling a 5-3 record in 67.1 innings of work, the hard-throwing righty added a sparkling 2.41 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, to go along with a jaw-dropping K:BB ratio of 64:9. Things began to hit a rough patch upon his arrival with High-A Clearwater, to the tune of an 0-4 record and a 4.55 ERA in just over 27 innings pitched. The Dominican hurler’s BB/9 rate jumped from 1.2 in Lakewood to a staggering 2.9 with Clearwater. Despite his struggles, Sanchez stills enters the upcoming season as MLB.com’s 47th-ranked prospect, being touted for his efficiency, command, athleticism, and strength. Sixto projects as an impact starter at the Major League level.
Kingery, 23, will enter the 2018 campaign much like Sanchez, as a top-50 prospect in MLB.com’s top-100, thanks to a breakout 2017 season. This past season saw Kingery firmly plant his flag on the map as one of the most exciting prospects in baseball, as he smashed a total 26 home runs between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley — a mark that sits 21 higher than his prior career-high. Before his 2017 campaign, Kingery’s defining characteristic was his line-drive ability, however, 2017 saw Kingery take major steps forward at the plate, and in the field. Kingery’s natural position is second-base, but has Jonathan Schoop blocking his path. He saw some time at the hot corner towards the end of last season, which is a prospect that could greatly entice a Baltimore team that would be seeking a replacement at third base.
Finally, that brings us to Galvis, who has rather quietly become one of the best players that Philadelphia puts out on that diamond. Working his way through the ranks, Galvis began as a 17 year-old international free agent that has blossomed into a surprising source of power, and defense. After smacking a total of 20 home runs in his first 322 games, he’s cracked 32 over his last 320 games. Granted, 171 of those 322 games came as either a backup or platoon player, but the sudden difference is enough to take notice. The striking difference came in regards to his defense, where Galvis made a number of impressive plays at shortstop. Coupled with his skills on the diamond, are his leadership skills in the locker room, with former skipper Pete Mackanin stating that “every coach and player on our team respects him.” That’s very high praise for Galvis, and is surely a quote that didn’t go unnoticed by other teams.
Back to reality though, we might be getting ahead of ourselves, here. There’s been no evidence of substantial talks between the two clubs, and aside from Kubatko’s report on Baltimore coveting Sanchez, it’s all been pure speculation. On the flip-side though, it’s possible that the two clubs have engaged in low-key discussions, and this thing could be closer to becoming reality than we all know. It’s impossible to say at this point, as is anything in the baseball world at this point. The only given at this stage, is that this has become a situation to monitor.
The Winter Meetings have arrived, you guys.