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UPDATE: Phillies, Orioles have probably definitely maybe discussed Manny Machado deal

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It’s a teeny bit of smoke, but it is smoke

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

You wanted a splash at this year’s Winter Meetings? We may just have some good news.

According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, the Phillies and Orioles have had some preliminary discussion surrounding superstar third baseman Manny Machado. Machado, who won’t turn 26 until July, is an absolute stud, a complete player who plays profoundly good defense and hits for both power and average.

He’s set to be a free agent after the 2018 season, and speculation has long stood that Baltimore would be a longshot to retain him past that point. With the Orioles clearly lagging behind the likes of Boston and New York, the club has been rumored to be gauging the market in Machado, as well as the likes of ace reliever Zach Britton, who will also be a free agent next winter.

Kubatko’s piece mentions three names on the Phillies’ side of things: prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery, as well as incumbent starting shortstop Freddy Galvis. Sanchez and Kingery, two of the organization’s top chips, feel like obvious inclusions for a player of Machado’s caliber, with the former casually hitting 102 MPH at 19 years of age and the latter closing in on Big League readiness at second base. Galvis’s inclusion makes some sense if the Orioles are looking for a stopgap at short, as their previous starter, J.J. Hardy, has now hit free agency.

That likely wouldn’t be the extent of the deal from a prospect perspective, nor from a bells-and-whistles perspective; Kubatko notes that a 72-hour extension negotiation window would likely come attached to a deal as a condition, allowing the Phillies to potentially secure Machado’s services past 2018. And that’s the only way this deal makes sense for Philadelphia, because they’re not a championship-level team right now, and adding Machado for one year at this great a prospect cost would be beyond foolhardy.

For Baltimore, the time to blow it all up may be at hand. They have valuable players to trade away - none greater than Machado - and this winter may be the time to secure the best possible assets for the future.

For now, consider this rumor as legitimate enough to move us from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 4. It appears neither serious nor close yet, but these discussions have definitely happened. Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. ET: Philly.com’s Matt Gelb writes that no Machado discussions have taken place yet this offseason. His piece, obviously differing from Kubatko’s, paints a more staid, patient picture of the Phillies’ offseason, with an eye toward next offseason.

We remain at DEFCON 4, but with added trepidation.

UPDATE, 12/13 9:55 p.m. ET: MASN’s Dan Clark tweets that the Phillies are one of five teams to have submitted an offer for Machado. Stock up the pantry!