The Rangers will look to give Josh Hamilton a contract extension

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Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas reports that the Rangers plan to speak with AL MVP Josh Hamilton’s agent this winter about a long-term contract extension.

Like his NL  MVP counterpart Joey Votto, Hamilton is arbitration eligible. He made $3.25 million in 2010, and would be due a big raise anyway. Though it’s increasingly common, there isn’t a massive amount of history of MVP winners going though arbitration, and the possibility exists Hamilton’s salary would go up pretty quickly. It makes sense the Rangers would want to avoid that and get some cost certainty — even if it’s high-cost — with respect to their best player.  The biggest question is health, of course, but when healthy he’s among the best players in baseball.

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.