LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Orioles aren’t creating much of a lobby buzz on the first full day of the Winter Meetings. Their needs are clearly defined and a few matches have been speculated by the media. Maybe this guy, perhaps that guy, but nothing real solid.
Teams continue to check on the availability of third baseman Manny Machado and closer Zach Britton. I was told this afternoon, and it’s part of the buzz inside the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, that the Phillies are one of the more interested parties and the Orioles have been doing their homework on the club’s farm system in case talks become serious.
The Orioles covet Dominican right-hander Sixto Sanchez, according to sources, but he’s the Phillies’ top pitching prospect and may be untouchable.
Sanchez, 19, has a fastball that can reach triple digits and he works comfortably in the mid-90s. He also has a changeup and slider, along with a world of potential, so he’s naturally going to be targeted if the Orioles decide to move Machado in his final season before free agency.
This is a big “if,” of course, since executive vice president Dan Duquette has seemed reluctant thus far to shift into rebuild mode.
Sanchez has registered a 2.47 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 40 minor league games. He moved up to high Single-A Clearwater in August after going 5-3 with a 2.41 ERA and 0.82 WHIP and holding opponents to a .191 average in 13 starts with Lakewood in the low Single-A South Atlantic League.
The Orioles also like Scott Kingery, 23, rated by MLB.com as the best second base prospect in baseball. The former second-round pick has registered a career .284/.341/.437 slash line in 329 games and hit a combined 26 home runs this summer between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The other name I’ve heard floated is shortstop Freddy Galvis, 28, who appeared in 162 games for the Phillies this season and batted .255/.309/.382 with 29 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs and 61 RBIs. He also plays second and third base and has made 11 starts in the outfield.
A trade also would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to sign Machado to an extension. Otherwise, he’s a potential rental and the haul for him is reduced.
I ran the names past a scout from another organization who dismissed the chances that the Phillies would part with this much young talent, but it’s worthy of discussion on Day One of the meetings. And the connection between the teams is obvious with so many former Orioles officials now with the Phillies.
The Orioles are doing their due diligence here by being receptive to any overtures from interested clubs. It doesn’t mean that they’re aggressively shopping their pending free agents, but in Machado’s case, the sense that they won’t be able to keep him beyond 2018 increases the chances that he could be traded.
If not prior to opening day, perhaps at the non-waiver trade deadline if the Orioles fall out of contention.
Note: Infielder Steve Wilkerson was chosen to the Arizona Fall League’s Top Prospects Team.
Wilkerson, left unprotected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft, batted .317 with three doubles, a league-leading five triples, one home run, 10 RBIs and two stolen bases for the Salt River Rafters.
The Top Prospects Team is selected by AFL managers and coaches