Yankees have made 'strong offer' for Machado

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There seems to be no stopping the rumors linking the New York Yankees to Manny Machado.

The Yanks have made a "strong offer" to the Baltimore Orioles for the star infielder, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who suggests that while the Bronx Bombers may not be the favorite, they clearly are a player in this sweepstakes.

This follows a report earlier today from MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that the O's covet Justus Sheffield and might be open to sending Machado to New York if the 22-year-old lefty is in the deal.

Sheffield, who has reached Triple-A and is the No. 2 Yankees prospect and No. 39 overall per MLB Pipeline, reportedly is not part of the offer, as Orioles reporter Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com points out.

If that's the case, it remains to be seen whether the two sides -- a pair of American League East rivals who haven't made many trades, let alone blockbusters, in their history -- can find a common ground.

And in another plot twist, a verified Manny Machado Instagram account liked a photo mockup of Machado in a Yankees road uniform late on Wednesday night.

Instagram from @baseballoverload: Is this something that you would like to see happen? (@ogclutchdigital)

The O's certainly have been making waves in their wide-ranging discussions with other clubs about Machado. In fact, a Baltimore Sun report from Tuesday night linked the Boston Red Sox to Machado, too. The O's could be pitting the rival Yankees and Red Sox, who have been neck and neck in the division for most of the season, against each other in the hopes of driving up the return package.

Machado, 26, is in the midst of a career campaign with a .314/.383/.573 line and 23 home runs -- including a pair in Tuesday night's win over the Yankees.

A free agent at season's end, Machado has continued to reiterate his preference to remain at shortstop. The Yankees, however, have veteran Didi Gregorius in that spot, and it's unknown whether Machado would switch back to third base -- the position he played in his first six seasons -- and unseat rookie Miguel Andujar.

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