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Theo Epstein on Manny Machado trade talk: ‘Spasm of media frenzy’

Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein on Thursday threw cold water on the blazing Manny Machado trade rumors, referring to the rampant speculation as nothing more than a ‘spasm of media frenzy.”

“I can say with regards to this particular spasm of media frenzy, it is outrageously outsized when you compare it to the reality of the situation,” Epstein said during an appearance on 670 The Score, via NBC Sports Chicago.

The Machado-to-Cubs rumors have been ramping up significantly of late and reached a fever pitch this week with the Baltimore Orioles in the Windy City for a series with the crosstown White Sox.

Machado, who is off to a torrid start this season, slashing at a .332/.407/.637 clip with 15 home runs and 43 RBI. With the Orioles an MLB-worst 15-36 and Machado set to hit free agency in 2019, the presumption is Baltimore will deal the superstar shortstop instead of risking losing him for nothing. The Cubs, among several other teams, reportedly are in the mix at acquiring the 25-year-old.

Cubs skipper Joe Maddon and first baseman Anthony Rizzo earlier this week attempted to downplay the trade rumors, which clearly Epstein is trying to do as well, saying, the team is “just rolling our eyes at” the frenzy.

“I understand it’s natural for people to connect the dots and there to be this kind of frenzy from time to time, but it’s honestly something we’re looking at and just rolling our eyes at,” Epstein said. “It’s not like July, where every now and then there’s lots of coverage on deals that are actually being discussed or actually might happen.

“This one is just out there in fantasy land at this point.”

Where there’s smoke there’s often fire when it comes to trade rumors. However, with the MLB trade deadline nearly two months away — not to mention how sports executives never tip their hands — it’s hardly surprising Epstein is scoffing at all the Machado talk.