Quick hits: Braves are making it interesting

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– The Braves might make a race of this thing. They won their fifth straight on Saturday afternoon,
storming past the last-place Nationals 11-5. They have won 13 out of
their last 15 games to move within three games of the Rockies for the
National League Wild Card. The Braves have eight games left, including
four against the Nationals again to close the season, so while a
comeback of epic proportions looks unlikely, don’t count them out.
After all, the Rockies aren’t exactly striding to the finish — they
are 5-5 over their last 10 games.




– According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, desperate for pitching help, the Diamondbacks may listen to offers for shortstop Stephen Drew
this winter. After a promising 2008, the former first-round pick is
batting just .259/.323/.430 with 12 homers and 59 RBI this season.
Since he is under the organization’s control through 2012, the club
hopes he might be an attractive piece on the trade market entering his
“Age 27” season. With agent Scott Boras in tow, the club is unlikely to
lock Drew up with a long-term deal at a reasonable price if he bounces
back in 2010.




– The hard-charging Twins will try to make it five in a row
when Scott Baker (13-9, 4.43) opposes Lenny DiNardo (0-1, 8.22) and the
Royals on Saturday night. The Twins have won 10 of 11 and currently sit
just two games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Detroit will send
Nate Robertson (2-2, 5.13) to the hill against Freddy Garcia (2-3,
4.01). The Tigers were shut out by Jake Peavy on Friday night. It
should get very interesting when the Twins and Tigers meet for a
four-game series on Monday in Detroit.




– And finally, Lookout Landing has Ichiro’s first-career ejection covered from all angles, including some nifty .gifs. Gotta love it.

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.