The Braves option Nate McLouth to Gwinnett

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Nate McLouth has been absolutely terrible since coming off the disabled list, going 1 for 15 with no extra base hits. On the year he’s hitting .178/.279/.265.  If there’s a worse regular for a playoff contender I haven’t seen him.  Today the Braves said “enough” and optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett.

The Braves don’t have a lot of outfield options. Gregor Blanco will likely get some time in center when he’s called up (which can’t be for another four days because he was optioned). Brent Clevlen was activated today but, c’mon, it’s Brent Clevlen. There is some talk that Jason Heyward could play center, but it seems like a big risk to take with such an important part of the team. Atlanta has to make a move to shore up the outfield.

Probably worth noting at this point that lots of Pirates fans and many Pirates players got all angry last summer when McLouth was traded.  I understand the general frustration with that team constantly turning over its roster, but in this specific instance, no great loss.

Orioles “have begun fielding calls of interest” on Manny Machado

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”

You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.

Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.

Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.