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Manny Machado bristles at trade rumors

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Manny Machado is, quite clearly, the most highly sought-after player as we approach the trade deadline. Baltimore is not going anywhere and they are not going to sign him long term, so the market is wide open. Several teams, including the Yankees, Dodgers and Brewers have been reported as having interest and it seems only a matter of time before he’s dealt.

The Yankees have been reported to be the most interested in recent days, with several reports flying about the O’s and the Bombers discussing a trade for Machado. The issue there, however, is that the Yankees have a fine shortstop in Didi Gregorius, so if they got Machado they’d likely want him to return to third base, where he played for most of his career.

Machado was asked about that, and the larger idea of being traded, after last night’s doubleheader against the Yankees. He bristled. From Ken Rosenthal:

“Talk to me about the game; talk to me about something useful. Not about rumors. … I don’t talk rumors. I play baseball. We got our ass kicked today. Won the first game, lost the second game. I talk baseball. I’ll talk baseball all you want . . . I’m a shortstop,” Machado said. “I play shortstop.”

That sounds much more like Machado simply not wanting to answer questions about being traded than some definitive stance about where he’ll play for the final two to three months of the season. Based on how hard he lobbied and worked to get the Orioles to move him back to his original position this past offseason, however, it’s likely the case that he truly does want to stick at short and not be moved. It’s worth noting too that he’ll be a free agent this offseason and he’ll have more value if teams see him as a shortstop rather than a third baseman. Finishing strong, on a playoff team, while playing shortstop will do him a lot better in that regard.

Obviously if the Yankees do trade for him and if they do move him to third, he’ll be asked about it again. I suspect if that happens he’ll have a far more nuanced and diplomatic answer.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.