Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.
“They,” in this case, is Jon Heyman, who reports the Phillies, despite recent rumblings that the team had moved its attention elsewhere, are still targeting Orioles third baseman Manny Machado:
machado is still the top target for Phillies (they had a scout with o's last night) but they are targeting other infielders as backup plans
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 10, 2018
It would seem that the scout in attendance was Charley Kerfeld:
Not as many scouts here as you'd expect for the Orioles-Yankees' DH given O's situation. But there is one of note: Charlie Kerfeld, one of the Phillies' top special assistants, is here. I'd think for Machado but also the Orioles' bullpen arms. Phillies can use some relief help
— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) July 9, 2018
I keep telling myself that there’s no way the Phillies go all in and make a play for Machado. The sheer number of teams interested and the deal it would take to get something done just doesn’t jive with the personality of what has been a fairly conservative front office, but Heyman is typically plugged in when it comes to these matters. If he’s correct on this one, it would seem that while Kerfeld may have been in attendance to check out the other items of Baltimore’s impending fire sale, the main purpose of the trip was in fact to further evaluate Machado.
Could the Phillies use Machado’s .309/.379/.555 slashline in the middle of the lineup? Hell yeah. Again – and this is nothing new – the Phillies have to decide if going for broke by utilizing their vast minor league resources in exchange for two months of Machado is the best way forward.
It would be nearly impossible not to get fired up over the acquisition of a bona fide superstar, but this team still needs to patch several holes, even if they get a deal done.