Braves considering alternatives to Dan Uggla at second base

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The struggling Dan Uggla has started just five out of the last nine games at second base for the Braves and Mark Bowman of MLB.com hears that the club will continue to look at alternatives at the position.

While the Braves “have moved away from the thought” of releasing Uggla, they are expected to give playing time to Ramiro Pena and Tyler Pastornicky in the next couple of weeks. From there, they could promote prospect infielder Tommy La Stella, who is hitting .306/.368/.333 with a 9/12 K/BB ratio over 30 games at Triple-A Gwinnett. Interestingly, Bowman writes that some of the team’s veteran players would rather see Pastornicky get a chance to run away with the job.

Uggla is batting just .180/.297/.345 over 164 games since the start of last season and is still owed $24 million through the end of 2015. The Braves apparently aren’t comfortable with eating his remaining salary in order to turn the page, but something might have to give soon.

Manny Machado reportedly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers

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This has been the worst kept secret all day, but Ken Rosenthal has now reported that, yes, Manny Machado has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The full return is not yet known, but Rosenthal says that outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz — who starred in the Futures Game on Sunday — is part of the package heading back to Baltimore. Rosenthal says that other players, and the amount of money, if any, going from Baltimore to Los Angeles, is not yet known. It would make some sense, however, for the Orioles to do that. First, to secure a better package of prospects in return and second to help the Dodgers stay under the luxury tax threshold.

That this was a done deal well before first pitch tonight is clear. As I noted earlier today, the reporters talking about the deal used far more certain terms than they usually do, keeping themselves just short of announcing that it was official. Before the All-Star Game Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was seen taking a selfie with Machado. During the game, as Kemp was mic’d up while playing the outfield, Fox broadcaster Joe Buck asked him about the possible trade and Kemp, not at all convincingly said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” and offered a chuckle.

Francisco Lindor pinch-hit for Machado in the top of the sixth inning and, at that moment, Rosenthal asked Machado about leaving Baltimore. Machado spoke of the Orioles in the past tense. Just as they went on the air, Rosenthal tweeted out news of the deal being official. It’s obvious that Major League Baseball or the teams involved asked him to embargo news of the trade until Machado was out of the game.

The mechanics of the deal will not be remembered. The significant thing is that the Dodgers just acquired the best available player at the deadline. Machado is hitting .315/.387/.575 with 24 homers and 65 RBI so far this year. While his shortstop defense has been suspect, his bat will play quite well at a position where the Dodgers are currently in trouble due to the season-ending injury to Corey Seager. Machado will slot right into shortstop for the current NL West leaders, and will add serious pop to what has already been a potent lineup all year long. Machado will be a free agent at the end of the season, but he’ll be an excellent rental for the Dodgers for the final two and a half months of the season and into the playoffs, should the Dodgers make it to October.

Diaz homered twice in the Futures Game on Sunday. He’s only 21, but he’s already raking in Double-A ball, hitting .314/.428/.477 with six homers in 59 games at Tulsa. He’s a top-100 prospect in all of baseball and figures to be a star in the majors at some point in the next year or two.

We’ll update when more is known about the package returning to Baltimore, but for now all that matters is that Manny Machado is L.A.-bound.