Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero close to $32 million contract with Dodgers

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Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero is close to signing a $32 million contract with the Dodgers, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes reported back in mid-July that Guerrero and the Dodgers had agreed to a $32 million contract–which he said was for seven years–but then Guerrero’s agent denied there was a deal in place … to Sanchez.

And now a couple months later it’s nearly a done deal, with Sanchez reporting “an official announcement is expected this week” and the contract is slated to be “between five and seven years.”

Guerrero played a lot of shortstop in Cuba, but he’s expected to be a second baseman in the majors and with 36-year-old Mark Ellis headed for free agency the Dodgers have a clear path for him to take over the job in 2014. He was considered one of Cuba’s top all-around players and the 26-year-old put up some big numbers offensively.

Because of the spending limits put in place with the draft and (most) international prospects dropping huge money on Cuban players is one of the few areas beyond MLB payroll where the Dodgers can really take advantage of their huge revenue edge and they’re smartly doing exactly that.

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.