Are the White Sox going to let A.J. Pierzynski walk?

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Jim Bowden reports — that always sounds weird, by the way — that the White Sox have not yet offered a contract to free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. And maybe they shouldn’t, because he has declined a great deal and he probably wants multiple years when he doesn’t really deserve them.  But it does leave me wondering what the Sox plan on doing at catcher.

Why? Because while everyone has assumed for a couple of years that prospect Tyler Flowers would take over behind the plate once A.J. was gone, he didn’t have a great year in Charlotte, regressing pretty substantially after an outstanding 2009 split between Triple-A and Double-A.  I saw him once when the Knights came to Columbus and, while I’m no scout, he had some pretty terrible-looking at bats.

Catcher take awhile to develop, but Flowers is going to be 25 in January.  Can he be trusted to simply step in and competently handle the catching duties for the White Sox? And if not, who is going to be there to pick him up when he falters?  A.J. Pierzynski? Someone else?

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.