Superstar free agent Manny Machado will not meet with teams in Las Vegas, it seems, preferring instead to visit suitors at their home parks, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). That would seem to suggest that his market won’t take off over the week to come, though surely there’ll be relevant developments. If Machado is indeed plotting a course of courtship that will take place over the coming weeks, then perhaps there’s more room for earlier developments in other segments of the infield market …
- Behind the dish, the Marlins’ asking price on J.T. Realmuto may be creeping back down to more realistic levels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. The organization has long been said to be asking for an enormous return in exchange for two seasons of the game’s best backstop, which truthfully isn’t an unreasonable starting point. Still, as Sherman notes, the club will ultimately likely be forced to take what the offer will give. For the Mets, pursuit of Realmuto is still seen “as a long shot,” Sherman adds on Twitter. And the Phillies are presently focused on other pursuits, per Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter), such that they haven’t engaged with their division rivals in Miami regarding Realmuto in a few weeks’ time.
- The Athletics have reached out to second baseman DJ LeMahieu as they continue to explore the market for second basemen, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. That’s not an indication that the Oakland org is out on Jed Lowrie, so much as the latest sign that a reunion is anything but inevitable with both parties seeing other people. LeMahieu himself likely isn’t the only alternative being considered, Slusser notes; she goes on to explore some of the other opportunities that could be pondered by the A’s brass.
- In a boon to free agents and teams with potential trade chips at second base, Royals GM Dayton Moore tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (Twitter link) that he is not getting as many questions of late about Whit Merrifield. That’s not because of a lack of interest, though, so much as the fact that the Royals have “pretty much made it clear” they will hold onto the late-blooming star. Merrifield will not even be eligible for arbitration until 2020, though he’ll turn thirty before the start of the 2019 season. From an outside perspective, this seems an ideal time to market a player who’d draw wide interest given his excellent recent production, defensive flexibility, and cheap price tag. But the Kansas City org seems determined to try to build around some of its preexisting roster assets.
- The Phillies are not finding initial success at generating interest in second baseman Cesar Hernandez, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic (Twitter link). With a robust slate of free agents at the position and a seemingly increasing list of available trade candidates, there’s some imbalance between the supply and demand. Hernandez, 28, has been a fairly steady performer, but he did fall off a bit with the bat last year and is increasingly expensive at a projected $8.9MM arb salary in his second to last run through the process.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich discussed his team’s long-term relationship possibilities with third baseman Nolan Arenado in an inteview on MLB Network (h/t Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Twitter links). Bridich says the club can afford to carry a $200MM+ promise to Arenado, citing a “responsible growth” plan for payroll. Of course, that number may only be scratching the surface of what Arenado could command in a hypothetical post-2019 free agency, so it’s far from clear just yet whether the club will be both willing and able to line up on a new deal to keep him from the open market. Otherwise, unsurprisingly, Bridich acknowledged that the Rox are interested in improving not only in the outfield but also at first base to boost a sagging offense.