Paul Maholm throws simulated game, nearing rehab assignment

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The first-place Braves haven’t missed Paul Maholm much since he landed on the disabled list last month with a bruised left wrist, but he’s on track to rejoin the starting rotation soon.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Maholm made it through a simulated game this afternoon with no issues. The next step will be a minor league rehab assignment, which could set him up to be activated as soon as next Thursday against the Cardinals.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is still thinking over how he will handle Maholm’s return, with a six-man rotation among the possibilities. This could be a way to give Julio Teheran some extra rest down the stretch.

Maholm, 31, has a 4.41 ERA and 82/36 K/BB ratio in 118 1/3 innings through 20 starts this season. He has a 5.33 ERA in 17 starts since beginning the year with three consecutive scoreless outings.

The Orioles are “moving aggressively” to trade Manny Machado

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.

Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.