Report: Orioles fielding seven offers for Manny Machado

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As has been known for quite some time, Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is on the verge of free agency once the 2018 season wraps up. Given his elite status — both as a defender and a perennial .250+ average, 30+ home run hitter — it makes sense that the club would try to flip him at the trade deadline for whatever prospects they can get their hands on, rather than simply letting him walk away once his contract expires. The latest report from Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun claims that the Orioles are considering seven different offers from the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Indians and Cubs, with a few other teams rumored to be interested as well.

Encina adds that the list is structured in order of appeal, with the Dodgers leading the group. The specific players on the table have yet to be disclosed, and while it stands to reason that the Orioles would target the top prospects from each organization, no. 1 outfield prospect Alex Verdugo isn’t likely to move out of Los Angeles’ farm system anytime soon. Given how close the offers appear to be, it’s still anyone’s game (er, shortstop), though an agreement could be struck even sooner than the July 31 deadline if the Orioles find the right combo of prospects.

Machado, who turned 26 on Friday, is capping a seven-season campaign with the team, one that has seen three All-Star nominations, two Gold Gloves and three strong bids for AL MVP. He entered Saturday’s competition batting .310/.381/.560 with 21 home runs, seven stolen bases and a .942 OPS through 375 plate appearances. He’ll receive the remainder of a $16 million salary as he closes out his final chapter with Baltimore this year.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.