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D-backs want Machado -- can they offer enough?

MLB.com @DKramer_

The D-backs made perhaps the most effective splash ahead of last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline in acquiring J.D. Martinez. Might they be on the verge of bolstering their lineup in another similar manner?

Arizona has long been linked to Orioles superstar Manny Machado, and like Martinez was last year, Machado would be a rental with his free agency looming this winter. But the potential hurdle in acquiring Machado, as MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal alluded in a report on Tuesday, might be Arizona's depleted farm system, which has just one prospect, right-hander Jon Duplantier, in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.

The D-backs made perhaps the most effective splash ahead of last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline in acquiring J.D. Martinez. Might they be on the verge of bolstering their lineup in another similar manner?

Arizona has long been linked to Orioles superstar Manny Machado, and like Martinez was last year, Machado would be a rental with his free agency looming this winter. But the potential hurdle in acquiring Machado, as MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal alluded in a report on Tuesday, might be Arizona's depleted farm system, which has just one prospect, right-hander Jon Duplantier, in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.

Listen: Morning Lineup Podcast discusses possibility of D-backs landing Machado

The Orioles are expected to command a significant return for their star shortstop, potentially with Major League talent. And with general manager Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter each in the final years of their contracts, and with Baltimore holding the Majors' worst record, it's believed that there is increasing pressure to net the most significant return possible for Machado. And other clubs in the mix for his services -- the Braves, Cubs, Phillies and Cardinals, among others, have each been linked to the American League MVP Award candidate -- might have more to offer. 

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported last week that the clubs had at least engaged in discussions relating to Machado, citing Arizona's correspondence as due diligence. 

Arizona reached the postseason last fall for the first time since 2011. With an aggressive front office spearheaded by second-year general manager Mike Hazen and a confident nucleus overseen by reigning NL Manager of the Year Torey Lovullo, the D-backs remain in position to return to the playoffs. Entering play on Tuesday, FanGraphs projected them with a 53.9 percent chance of reaching the postseason, behind the Dodgers (88.3 percent) in the National League West. 

Yet in a diluted division that has no clear frontrunner, and with a throng of its Major League talent facing free agency in the immediate future (A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin are both slated to hit the market this winter), Arizona might be prompted to be one of the most aggressive clubs ahead of the July 31 Trade Deadline. Its lineup has its share of holes -- it entered Tuesday with an 89 wRC+, sixth-worst in the NL -- and particularly at shortstop, where Nick Ahmed has provided solid defense but has struggled to a .215/.276/.411 slashline. Machado is hitting.305/.375/.559 with 19 homers. 

The D-backs were among a handful of clubs that had reportedly inquired about Machado last winter. Rosenthal reported in January that they were "the most persistent of the teams interested." 

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Manny Machado