The Cubs are still for sale

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There will probably be generations of Cubs fans who were born, lived, and will die in the time it takes for the Tribune Company to sell the team:

Sam Zell is considering a lineup change.

Tribune Co., led by Zell, is no longer negotiating only with the
Ricketts family on a deal for the Chicago Cubs. Sources confirmed
Thursday that the parent of the Chicago Tribune recently has entered
into separate discussions with a group led by New York investor and
former Chicagoan Marc Utay, whose earlier bid was trumped by the
Rickettses . . . [Tribune spokesman Gary] Weitman said the media
company is “assessing other alternatives” but would neither confirm nor
deny that it is talking again with the Utay group.

The Cubs have been for sale for over two years. While current ownership
hasn’t abandoned the team as such, the failure to find a buyer has
likely caused them to forego all manner of potential competitive moves.
Things like firing the G.M. and taking a risk on a big contract, which
is something the Cubs should otherwise be able to do. Think about it:
did you put the best oil in your car once you decided to sell it? Did
you stain your deck the summer you put your house on the market?

No matter what the ultimate price the sale of the Cubs brings, this
dilly-dallying has cost them dearly. Not so much for what has been done
to the team, but by what has not been done and what deals rejected.

Report: The White Sox and Diamondbacks are in on Manny Machado

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Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.

The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.

The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.

The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.