Orioles Need Bold Recourse to Contend Without Superstar Manny Machado

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Orioles Need Bold Recourse to Contend Without Superstar Manny Machado
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If misery loves company, the Los Angeles Angels just got company.

Two days after the Halos lost their ace Garrett Richards for the season to a knee injury, the Baltimore Orioles learned they'll be without budding superstar Manny Machado for the remainder of the 2014 season, per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

As with Los Angeles, Baltimore is poised to make a deep run into October. The loss of Machado doesn't necessarily derail those hopes, but it adds a serious roadblock.

The 22-year-old third baseman posted a .278/.324/.431 slash line through 82 games with 12 home runs and 32 RBI.

Over the last month, he'd begun to turn it up, hitting .351 with five home runs and 15 RBI over a 28-game span, per Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun

Machado has been on the disabled list since August 12 with a sprained right knee, but the O's and their fans were crossing their fingers for a stretch-run return.

"I'll probably try to bring some clarity and everything to where we are with that situation, try to gather exactly what he's being told, as far as when baseball activities would start and all that stuff," skipper Buck Showalter told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.

Now clarity has come: Machado will undergo his second knee surgery in as many seasons. He hurt his left knee last September and wound up missing the remainder of the 2013 campaign plus the first month of 2014.

With that clarity, one thing is abundantly clear: Baltimore needs to get creative to keep its World Series hopes alive.

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The playoffs still look like a near certainty. Entering play Friday, the Orioles stood at 73-53 and held a commanding 8.5-game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East. 

But if they plan to make a serious push for the franchise's first championship in three decades, Baltimore must make a move.

There are internal options. Chris Davis could take over full time at the hot corner, where he's played 79 games in his big league career. 

The Orioles called up infielder Cord Phelps on August 13 when Machado first landed on the DL.

Phelps was hitting .258 with Triple-A Norfolk at the time of his call-up, be he's hit just .158 with two home runs in 114 MLB at-bats since 2011.

Not brimming with confidence? Want the O's to bring in outside help? There are names to consider.

The Texas Rangers, mired in a nightmare season, could be looking to deal. And third baseman Adrian Beltre cleared waivers on Monday, per Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 35-year-old was hitting .322 with 17 home runs entering play Friday. It's unclear how willing the Rangers are to deal him, though.

The Washington Nationals inquired about Beltre prior to the trade deadline, per MLB.com's Bill Ladson, and "were rebuffed."

If Davis does make a permanent move to third, Baltimore could also look to add a first baseman or an outfielder. 

Another Ranger who cleared waivers, outfielder Alex Rios, could be an option, though he's battling a thumb injury, per Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As for first basemen, Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox cleared waivers last August, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

Dunn will be a free agent after the season, meaning it likely wouldn't require a mortgage of the farm to get him.

The Big Donkey is a liability in the field and is hitting just .224, but he's still got pop, to the tune of 19 home runs.

Any route the Orioles take will involve risk. Sure-bet players aren't just hanging out there waiting to be claimed in late August.

But this is a team with a legitimate shot at doing something special. You can't let those chances slip away, because you never know when they'll come again.

Misery may love company, but that's a party Baltimore is hoping to leave as quickly as possible.

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