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Orioles plan on taking another power trip to AL playoffs

Orioles plan on taking another power trip to AL playoffs

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles have found a formula for success, and they're sticking with it.

Hit the long ball, play solid defense, close out the game with your outstanding bullpen. For three of the past five years -- including last season -- that's gotten the Orioles into the playoffs.

That's the plan for 2017, too.

With defending major league home run champ Mark Trumbo, slugger Chris Davis and hard-hitting Manny Machado leading the way, Baltimore hopes to have enough power to compensate for a starting rotation that lacks depth and experience.

Former first-round picks Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy stand atop a rotation that will start the season without ace Chris Tillman, who's nursing a shoulder injury that will keep him on the disabled list through opening day. Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (8-12, 5.44 ERA) and lefty Wade Miley (9-13, 5.37) are coming off lackluster seasons, and if they don't rebound the Orioles might find themselves in a whole lot of high-scoring games.

If that's the case, then Baltimore will need another prolific season from a lineup that led the majors in long balls and had five starters hit at least 25 home runs.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette brought back Trumbo as a free agent during the offseason after doing the same with Davis one year earlier. Why bother with bunts and stolen bases when you can get three runs with one swing of a bat?

"That's the way we like it," manager Buck Showalter said. "It fits us perfect."

If Baltimore's starters can keep the game close for six or seven innings, the bullpen can win it. All-Star closer Zach Britton was brilliant last season, compiling a 0.54 ERA and converting every one of his 47 save opportunities while operating behind standout setup men Brad Brach and Darren O'Day.

Quite by design, this team looks very much like the one that went 89-73 last year.

"That's really nice when you walk in for a new season to have a lot of the same group," Davis said. "And not only the same group, but a lot of guys have been together for five and six years."

MORE ORIOLES: Zach Britton hopes to duplicate great 2016 season

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

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USA Today Sports Images

Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

Manny Machado could very well be playing in his final game in an Orioles uniform Tuesday night when he takes the field for the 89th Midsummer Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers are now in the driver's seat as a favorite to land the All-Star shortstop. 

Machado, 26, has gone back and forth on what he does and does not know as front office deals develop and speculation continues to grow. One thing he has made clear is that the rumors have not detracted from his enjoyment of being an All-Star.

Machado is signed through the end of the season, but the Orioles intend to deal him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

For the latest news and conversation surrounding Machado's status and the Orioles, follow along on Twitter

RELATED LINKS: 

2018 MLB All-Star Guide 

Bryce Harper reflects on his baseball career 

Best and worst ASG uniforms 

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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

When Manny Machado returns from the 2018 MLB All-Star Break, he will not be donning a Baltimore Orioles uniform. 

The All-Star shortstop is expected to be traded from Baltimore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, barring any last-minute changes, according to multiple media reports. 

That being said, the Machado trade talks remain fluid and both the Phillies and Brewers are still trying to work a trade for the 26-year-old third baseman, according to Jon Heyman. The Diamondbacks are also reportedly trying to lure the four-time All-Star to the desert, while the Yankees decided to pull out of the Machado sweepstakes just prior to the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. 

While the details of the trade have yet to be revealed, the Dodgers will reportedly include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Machado trade, according to Heyman.

According to Jim Bowden, when regular-season play returns, Machado will be in the National League, although which team he plays for is still up in the air.

With the Orioles sitting a historically awful 39.5 games out of first place at the All-Star Break, trading Machado is the first major step toward a complete overhaul. The Orioles drafted Machado out of Brito High School in Miami, Fla., with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Machado has drawn comparisons to iconic third basemen Brooks Robinson and Alex Rodriguez, despite being moved to shortstop full-time this past season, and is widely considered one of the three best position players in professional baseball.

Machado is currently batting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.

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