It doesn’t appear Orioles general manager Dan Duquette is planning to initiate extension talks with contract-year shortstop Manny Machado. “I would never say never, but we’re going to be more focused on ’18 than beyond,” Duquette told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. “I don’t really know what’s going to happen beyond that.” Machado, Duquette, manager Buck Showalter, center fielder Adam Jones and relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach are all scheduled to become free agents after the season, leading Duquette to admit to Feinsand that 2018 will be the last hurrah for this particular Orioles core. If he stays the GM into 2019, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on spending in free agency next winter, but he also isn’t dismissing the idea of a rebuild. Regarding a potential teardown, Duquette offered: “There is some logic toward doing that, right? You get the premium picks in the Draft and they can become the core players for your next championship club. A lot of this is timing; it’s cyclical.”
More from the AL…
- The Twins are “unlikely” to sign any of the top remaining free agent starters – Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn – Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio hears (Twitter link). On paper, anyone from that group would bolster Minnesota’s rotation, which will go without injured No. 1 starter Ervin Santana to open the season, but the club hasn’t shown a willingness to meet their asking prices. Even without any of them on the books, the Twins are already on track to begin the year with a franchise-record Opening Day payroll (approximately $121.83MM).
- Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is projected to start the year in the Rays’ rotation, but as a two-time Tommy John surgery patient, he faces long odds of making an impact, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times details. Only 31 other pitchers have made it back to the majors after undergoing a second Tommy John, which Eovaldi had as a Yankee in August 2016, while just 11 returned to start, per Topkin. That 11-man group (which Topkin lists) doesn’t offer a ton of hope, but Eovaldi is nonetheless banking on continuing as a starter. “I definitely want to be a starter and hold it out throughout the entire year,” he said. “As of now, we haven’t had any limitations, and we haven’t even talked about it.” The flamethrowing Eovaldi was a major league-caliber starter with the Dodgers, Marlins and Yankees from 2011-16, so it’s understandable that he and the Rays want to see him continue in that role. Although, his contract does include $2.375MM in relief incentives, Topkin notes.