Ron Costello

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Don't worry, the drones are coming and will soon run baseball.

The barometer came through South Philly last week and gave the Faithful a chance to measure up. If you haven't noticed, the Bronx Bombers have the best record in baseball, yet can't shake the nagging Red Sox.

So let's measure up.

The makeup of the two teams — Phillies and Yankees — are similar, with a mix of hot, young players, minus one superstar contract, also known as Giancarlo Stanton and $375 million over 13 years. The Phillies superstar contract may come sooner than you think — like in 30 days. That's about when the trade deadline ends and Baltimore will dump infielder Manny Machado.

Three things about that: first, the Phillies think Mr. Machado would look just fine anchoring third base for the next seven-plus years (Mr. Machado is only 25); even at $325 million over eight years; two, Baltimore will surely want to trade him rather than watch him walk at seasons end; and three, the Phillies look like a serious contender in a weak NL East and may want to give it a go the last two months of the season.

The experience of a run at season's end would be valuable to a young team, not to mention the fannies it would put in the seats like the old days.

All this will make the Faithful giddy as a sold-out pretzel vendor, with visions of white towel waving dancing in their heads. So how can the Phillies get Machado, when suitors from both leagues will be bidding?

Youth.

Plus Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco. Both cheap fillers for the Orioles, the worst team in baseball facing a multi-year rebuild. The youth? Breeze through the Phillies 40-man and the rosters of Lehigh Valley and Reading — or maybe beyond, like Lakewood or Clearwater — and you'll find the youth. But how far will the Phillies go to get Mr. Machado?

At the head of the class are recent draft signees: Third baseman Alex Bohm and right-handed pitcher, Colton Eastman.

And who's off limits? Would they deal Sir Anthony? Dylan Cousins? Nick Williams or Aaron Altherr?

How about Vince Velasquez?

Scott Kingery?

Here's my Off Limits list for Mr. Machado: 1. Aaron Nola; 2. Rhys Hoskins; 3. Odubel Herrera. 4. Jorge Alfaro. 5. Scott Kingery (sorry, I like the kid, he's the next Chase Utley). Next question?

It's all speculation but one thing is for sure: A nip here and a tuck there, and you're looking at the Yankees in red pinstripes. And to let possibly the most lucrative free agent — yes, even over Mr. Harper, who brings too much baggage — of the 2019 class go elsewhere is simply a mistake they can't afford to make.

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