- The Red Sox seem to be inclined to carry the out-of-options Blake Swihart on the active roster to open the season, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. While the club obviously feels it doesn’t want to lose out on his upside, that decision would also create some constraints elsewhere — perhaps forcing the Sox to make a move instead with one of their utility infielders. Indeed, as Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal writes (subscription link), the Sox have begun putting out feelers with other organizations regarding Deven Marrero (who is also out of option) and Brock Holt. While it’s not clear that either has drawn significant interest, it seems the team is preparing to move one of them or another similar player as part of its roster-maintenance efforts at the tail end of camp.
- Manny Machado’s move back to shortstop was inspired by his love for the position, the Orioles star tells ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, not as a way to better position himself for free agency next winter. “I think a lot of people are saying, ’He’s going over there because he wants more money or more value.’ It doesn’t come down to money or more value,” Machado said. “I’ve already established myself as a player. I’m worth what I’m worth already. It doesn’t matter if I’m at short or third. The transition over there is because that’s where my heart is. That’s what I do.” Machado’s preparation for the position switch included changes to his diet and offseason training regimen, and scouts have given promising early reviews about Machado’s defensive prowess at shortstop.
- Kendrys Morales lost weight in the offseason and is hoping to adjust his swing so that he hits fewer grounders in 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. Due to his lack of speed and opposing fielders playing the shift, Morales grounded into 22 double plays last season, which helped contributed to his below-average 97 wRC+ despite 28 homers and lots of hard contact. The subpar offensive performance and Morales’ lack of defensive contributions made him a sub-replacement level (-0.6 fWAR) player in his first year with the Blue Jays.