The Baltimore Orioles have stepped up their efforts to trade Manny Machado and a deal could get done by the end of this week, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

The Orioles were reportedly not willing to part with their 25-year-old superstar in September but plans changed quickly. First, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported on Dec. 7 that while the Orioles still did not want to move Machado, they were willing to listen to offers. Then, the plot thickened on Tuesday when Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Orioles had asked interested teams to submit offers.

This latest report by Nightengale seems to suggest the intensity of this developing story has ratcheted up.

The Chicago White Sox reportedly had the strongest offer for Machado as of late Wednesday night. But general manager Dan Duquette said the Orioles are still debating whether or not to trade Machado, according to ESPN. He also made it clear that giving a team a negotiating period to discuss a long-term deal with Machado will not be apart of any potential deal. Machado will become a free agent at the end of next season.

But if Nightingale’s latest report is correct, the Orioles will want two cost-controllable major league starters. That seems like a steep price for a one-year rental, but the White Sox initial offer included what the Orioles would want — Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito — two right-handed starters that could develop into frontline big league starters. Giolito has already pitched in the majors and Kopech could easily reach the big leagues this season.

But the White Sox are not in a position to win this season and remain committed to the future. Unless Chicago could convince Machado to sign long-term, which does not seem realistic, general manager Rick Hahn would concievably have to find a team to flip Machado to in exchange for prospects that are more valuable than Giolito or Kopech.

The latest speculation suggests the Orioles would receive Giolito or Kopech – not both. But even so, the White Sox would be taking a huge risk. Plus as Nightingale suggested, the Orioles do not want the Yankees to end up with Machado in 2018.

Hahn could turn to the St. Louis Cardinals as the third team. But while St. Louis has a great farm system like New York, the Cardinals are already interested in trading for Machado and are the best fit.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak have the pitchers to satisfy the Orioles and are in desperate need of a third baseman. Now Machado has expressed a desire to play shortstop again, but St. Louis could move Paul DeJong to third.

Regardless, the Cardinals trade for Marcell Ozuna signaled the Cardinals are all in to win next season and the depth of their farm system could make acquiring a one-year rental of Machado’s talent worth the risk.

The New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies are also interested in Machado, according to multiple reports.

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