MLBPA files grievance against Cubs on Big Z’s behalf

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From Carrie Muskat of MLB.com comes word that the Major League Baseball Players Association field a grievance against the Cubs this evening on behalf of right-handed starter Carlos Zambrano.

Zambrano was placed on the disqualified list and docked 30 days of pay after walking out on his Cubs teammates following a blowout loss to the Braves last Saturday. He’s already apologized publicly for his actions, and is hoping that the Cubs will lighten the punishment originally levied against him.

If the team-issued 30-game suspension holds up, Zambrano could lose a total of $3 million in salary.

The MLBPA is not expecting an immediate ruling, as the length of the grievance process can vary.

Zambrano, 30, had registered a 4.82 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 101/56 K/BB ratio through 145 2/3 innings for the fifth-place Cubs. He is under contract in 2012 at $18M and carries a $19.25M vesting option for 2013.

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.