The Pirates are a finalist to sign Josh Johnson

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In an offseason when players are making a lot more money than we thought they might, a guy with a of recent injuries who is probably only in the market for a one year, make-good deal might be worth the risk. Exhibit A: Josh Johnson, who is said to have interest from three or four teams.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was told by Johnson’s agent that the Pirates are one of the finalists to sign his client. The other teams aren’t known, but he has been linked in reports to the Giants and Padres, presumably on the basis of taking the “head to the NL West and remake your career in pitcher-friendly parks” cure.

Johnson had a pretty crappy 2013, with a 2-8 record and 6.20 ERA in 81.1 IP. But his velocity was fine and his strikeout rate was actually good when he was healthy, so he’s definitely worth taking a chance on, right?

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.