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Rockies continue extension talks with Carlos Gonzalez

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The Rockies are still working on an extension offer for Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado GM Jeff Bridich says (via ESPN’s Jim Bowden). The 31-year-old outfielder is one season away from polishing off the seven-year, $80.5 million contract he signed with the Rockies in 2011, but both sides appear amenable to working out a longer deal to keep him in Colorado.

Despite losing some of the power that fueled his 40-homer campaign in 2015, Gonzalez slashed an impressive .298/.350/.505 in 2016, racking up 25 home runs, 100 RBI and a career-best 42 doubles. The Rockies have plenty of options in the outfield corners, including Gerardo Parra, David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Jordan Patterson, and while Gonzalez remains one of the most potent left-handed bats in the lineup (among many lefties), his trade value could supersede his potential contributions on the field.

Extension rumors surfaced as early as November, but the club’s initial suggestions were thought to be well under Gonzalez’s asking price. Should the two sides find themselves unable to cross that chasm, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman thinks it’s likely that the team will push for a midseason trade before the outfielder hits free agency in 2017.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.