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Sawdaye: D-backs doing ‘due diligence on everybody’ before trade deadline

Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado takes off his batting gloves after he flied out during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Friday, June 1, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

With his expiring contract, Baltimore Orioles infielder Manny Machado remains a topic of conversation as one of the most likely trade candidates this MLB season.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, hanging on to a 1.5-game lead in the NL West as of Wednesday morning, could be in the mix to take on such a rental while prepping for a playoff push — if the price for Machado isn’t too high.

Sources told MLB.com’s Jon Morosi that the D-backs and Orioles had been in contact over the summer about Machado and remain in an open dialogue as of Tuesday.

“Viewed as due diligence,” according to Morosi, that doesn’t mean a trade for Machado is close.

Timing is everything: Arizona is keeping in touch to be ready in case the Orioles open the door for a trade. It also matters if the D-backs feel an upgrade is necessary closer to the July 31 trade deadline.

On Wednesday, Doug & Wolf of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station asked Diamondbacks assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye about the Machado report. Sawdaye wouldn’t discuss it specifically, but he did confirm Arizona remains in constant contact with other teams to consider all options.

“In Manny Machado’s case, it’s up to the Baltimore Orioles. And anyone else’s case, their team decides on when they feel like they’re ready to pull the trigger,” Sawdaye said. “For us, we’re just going to do our due diligence on everybody out there.

“Look, at the end of the day, we have a really good team, a team that’s been able to hold first place down. We’ve battled some injuries, and we’ll continue to chug ahead and we’ll see what the next six weeks leading up to the trade deadline leads up to.”

Starting rotation remains up in air

Robbie Ray is through two rehab starts after injuring his oblique in late April.

Shelby Miller is a fourth rehab start into a return from Tommy John surgery done more than a year ago.

The Diamondbacks have tread water without them and Taijuan Walker, who is out for the year, but decisions for the starting pitchers’ respective returns are nearing.

“We’ve had discussions for the last couple weeks. Those discussions will be ongoing,” Sawdaye said.

Ray is a lock to return to the rotation when he’s ready. A first-time All-Star in 2017, he was 2-0 with a 4.88 ERA and 1.52 WHIP through six starts this season before going down with an oblique strain.

“Robbie’s been a horse for us,” Sawdaye said. “In some crazy way, Robbie being down six weeks is probably going to benefit him in the long run, especially in the rotation because his arm will be pretty fresh.

“It’s not always the worst thing in the world for pitchers to get blows that are not arm-related — I believe. Hopefully when Robbie comes back, we’ll see kind of a beefed-up version of Robbie Ray.”

Miller, who went 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.45 WHIP before injuring his UCL last season, could also push one of Clay Buchholz, Matt Koch or Zack Godley out of the starting rotation.

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