Cardinals send Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A to work as a starter

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I wondered yesterday why the Cardinals would demote Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A after he had one bad week following 95 innings of solid relief work, but now we know: He’s going to work as a starter.

Tony La Russa told Tom Krasovic of MLB.com that the idea is for Boggs to develop his secondary pitches while starting every fifth day at Triple-A, adding: “I expect him back this year and to play a major role.”

However, it sounds like that “major role” may still involve returning as a reliever, albeit a reliever with an improved changeup and off-speed stuff. Pitching coach Dave Duncan indicated that Boggs’ return date is undecided, as is his return role.

Still an odd move, but now at least it’s an odd move with some reasoning behind it beyond “he’s pitched poorly for the past week.” Boggs had a 3.66 ERA, .233 opponents’ batting average, and 19/4 K/BB ratio in 20 innings before the demotion.

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.