Indications are that the market for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado could wrap up soon, and team president of baseball operations Dan Duquette seemingly confirmed that is indeed the case. The organization does not intend to “focus on that much more after tomorrow,” Duquette told reporters including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). There’s no indication that the injury to Zach Britton will change the club’s plans, though it stands to reason that it could add at least some impetus to the possibility of a trade.
More notes on the third-base market…
- Meanwhile, the Cardinals perhaps have some cause to believe the Blue Jays are willing to consider moving star third baseman Josh Donaldson, per Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He suggests there’s some indication from the Jays side that the team isn’t dead-set against a move if it brought back MLB pieces as well as prospect value. To an extent, the Toronto organization has something of the opposite problem that the Cards do: the former needs multiple assets while the latter is loaded with solid players but would like a few premium pieces. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs had posited this sort of scenario a few weeks back.
- While the above-noted third baggers have drawn most of the attention this winter, another — Maikel Franco of the Phillies — has also been chatted about here and there. At present, though, there’s no indication that the Philadelphia front office is willing to give up Franco’s upside when his value has ebbed; indeed, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets that a rival executive has been left with the impression the Phils won’t sell low on the talented youngster.
- Though Todd Frazier has played primarily third base in his career, Crasnick also tweets that Frazier has expressed a willingness to move around the diamond in an effort to increase his market. Frazier has experience at first base in the Majors, and Crasnick notes that he’s willing to play some corner outfield as well. Frazier did log nearly 1000 minor league innings at shortstop, though, and there have been previous reports that some clubs believe Frazier can be an occasional option at second base as well. Though Frazier doesn’t have much big league experience elsewhere on the diamond, he’s been long been a plus defender at third base (+26 DRS and +26.1 UZR over the past five seasons combined).
- The Indians are looking at a variety of possibilities now that Carlos Santana has moved on. Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, via Twitter, the club has reached out to free agent Yonder Alonso, who’s one of a few open-market names that has now been linked to Cleveland. The club could yet pursue a rather wide variety of players given the flexibility of some of its internal pieces. It still appears wise to expect that achieving value — rather than just targeting specific players — will be the driving force given the club’s payroll constraints.