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Lull in Manny Machado rumors, but plates shift underneath

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The Dodgers put themselves in position to spend a ton of money next year

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It more than 36 hours ago that Bob Nightengale said the Baltimore Orioles would prefer to wrap up Manny Machado’s fate within 24 to 36 hours. Since then, there’s been a modest movement to get the Cubs involved, unless Nightengale had the wrong Chicago team in mind:

It’d be to the Orioles’ benefit if the Cubs stepped in, if only because it might spark the Cardinals to up their offer. The White Sox have no natural predators in this environment, as no other Central team is involved, and the Sox aren’t gunning for a division title anyway. My guess is that the White Sox have a line where a trade would start being counterproductive to their long-term health, because as the Oakland trade for Matt Holliday in 2009 shows, a GM can get lost in his own cleverness.

Either teams are dragging their feet topping the White Sox, or the Orioles are slow to process it. Their front office is one of the stranger ones in baseball.

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Not that Machado needs any motivation to test free agency, but the Dodgers gave him another one by pulling off a mega-money exchange with the Atlanta Braves.

Los Angeles sent Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson and $4.5 million to Atlanta for Matt Kemp. Gonzalez had 10-and-5 rights, but he waived them because the Braves designed him for assignment immediately.

The Dodgers are sending $50 million of players to the Braves for roughly $47.5 million worth of contractual obligations and cash. The difference is that Kemp’s $43 million is split over two years, while all of the Dodgers’ contracts expire after the 2018 season. The trade cleans the Braves’ payroll after the 2018 season, while splitting the sum over two seasons allows the Dodgers to sneak under the luxury tax. Jeff Passan does a nice job explaining the implications, but long story short, the Dodgers allows them to unleash their money cannon on the free-agent class, and history says they’ll come out firing.

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With all quiet on trade fronts, and Dustin Fowler made the biggest White Sox news by suing the club and the Illinois Sports Facility Agency for negligence. Fowler wrecked his knee on an electrical box down the right field line during his MLB debut, and the suit targets the White Sox and the agency for the placement and lack of padding:

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority acted negligently by not securing the metal box or taking precautions to prevent players from colliding with it. In addition, the suit alleges the White Sox and Sports Facilities Authority failed to adequately inspect the right field wall and the box. The box was installed at knee-level “in a manner so as to create a hidden and undetectable hazard” to Fowler and other ballplayers, the suit alleges. By failing to properly pad, guard or cover the exposed box, the defendants showed “an utter indifference to or conscious disregard” for Fowler’s safety.

These safety suits against teams and stadiums tend not to go anywhere, but while it plays out, it’s worth noting that it calls Fowler’s injury “severe and permanent.” Oakland acquired him from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade.