James Shields Rumors
Twitter link) that he prefers to deal directly with one club, since three- or four-team talks "kind of muddies the waters." He's still exploring all possibilities though. Heyman, following up on his Rangers/Upton report, says the current scenarios involve three or four teams (Twitter link). The Royals may also be in on talks with the D-Backs and Indians, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
11:11am: The Rangers are "working hard" trying to acquire Upton, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
10:44am: The Rays, Rangers, Indians, and Diamondbacks have re-opened the four-team trade talks mentioned below, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link).
9:17am: One executive involved in the Bauer/Cabrera discussions tells Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) that it has some legs, but is probably a long shot.
7:46am: The D-Backs and Indians have discussed the framework of a deal centering around Cabrera and Trevor Bauer, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports. The sides have been talking about the deal for two weeks, but talks have picked up at the Winter Meetings. There's no indication that a deal is close to completion at this time, however.
7:25am: It wouldn't be the Winter Meetings without talk of potential blockbuster trades, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rays, Rangers, Indians and Diamondbacks have discussed several combinations of three-, four- and even five-team trades.
It all boils down to the fact that the Rangers would like to add Justin Upton and/or James Shields, the Diamondbacks want Asdrubal Cabrera, and the Rays would like to trade a pitcher to improve an offense that ranked 11th in the AL in runs scored and 12th in OPS (and that's before losing B.J. Upton). The Rangers, in all of this, would likely be dishing out prospects to other teams.
Rosenthal is quick to note that while many possibilities have been discussed, it's not necessarily likely that a blockbuster gets completed. The Rangers are splitting their attention between trade talk and the pursuit of Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton.
Rosenthal writes that so many combinations have been discussed, several team officials he's spoken to aren't even sure which possibilities are still alive and which are dead. If no blockbuster happens, various combinations of these teams are still in negotiations regarding standard two-team exchanges.
The Winter Meetings are often the site for blockbuster trades. Recent examples including 2009's Ian Kennedy-Curtis Granderson-Max Scherzer-Austin Jackson three-team deal and the eight-player trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers in 2007.
Let's round up a few rumblings from Nashville on players who might be on the trade block...
- The Phillies are dangling pitcher Vance Worley as a trade chip and may be willing to include pitching prospect Trevor May in a deal, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- The Dodgers are becoming aggressive in shopping starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, in a potential sign of confidence regarding a Zack Greinke signing.
- There have been "no conversations" about trading Andre Ethier, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
- One rival executive thinks the Royals will eventually make a deal for Rays starter James Shields, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Within his piece, Knobler explains why the Royals are more inclined to trade Wil Myers than Billy Butler.
- The return the Twins received for Denard Span has somewhat hampered the Indians' efforts to trade Shin-Soo Choo, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains in a pair of Twitterlinks.
- Ramon Santiago's name has surfaced at the Winter Meetings as a potential trade candidate, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter). While Beck isn't sure if the Tigers would move him, he says the utility infielder could draw interest.
- The Dodgers are "aggressively shopping" Juan Uribe in Nashville, but predictably aren't receiving much interest, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets that when he asked an MLB official if the Yankees could have interest in Uribe with Alex Rodriguez out, he was met with a chuckle.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the buzz at the Winter Meetings suggests that Zack Greinke could be in line for a bigger payday than initially expected -- one competing agent thinks the right-hander could land a seven-year, $185MM deal. Given the high price tags on free agent starting pitchers, it's becoming increasingly likely that the Rays take advantage by dealing one of their starters, says Heyman.
James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson have been the names mentioned most in trade discussions and speculation, but the Rays will listen on anyone, including Cy Young winner David Price, says Heyman. Rays people view their chances of locking up Price beyond his current deal as "nil," according to Heyman, so if he isn't moved this winter, Price figures to be at the center of plenty more trade rumors down the road.
The Rays' arms are viewed as possible options for teams that miss out on the Greinke sweepstakes. The Dodgers, Nationals, and Rangers are among the clubs that been in contact with the Rays so far.
After we heard overnight that the Nationals and Rays were discussing a potential trade involving Danny Espinosa and/or Mike Morse, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports fills in the gaps on which player Washington may have been targeting. According to Heyman, the Nats are displaying interest in James Shields, though the current status of discussions between the two teams is unknown.
Heyman reports that the Nationals view Shields as a more affordable alternative to top free agents like Zack Greinke. Although Washington had been considered one potential landing spot for Greinke, a National League executive tells Heyman that the Dodgers are "scaring teams away" when it comes to bidding on the winter's top free agent pitcher.
The Red Sox, Dodgers, and Royals are among the other clubs showing interest in trading for Shields, says Heyman.
8:51pm: A Major League source confirmed to WEEI's Rob Bradford that the two teams have indeed discusseda trade that would center around Lester and Myers. According to Bradford, the talks also included the possibility of Boston sending outfield help to Kansas City with some pitching heading back to the Red Sox. He echoes that nothing is close.
6:55pm: The Royals have already added Ervin Santana to their rotation and brought back Jeremy Guthrie this offseason, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that general manager Dayton Moore would like to add one more impact arm to his rotation. According to Dutton, Moore's preference is to acquire that arm by dealing prospects rather than Major League talent, and there have been discussions about using top prospect Wil Myers to acquire James Shields or Jon Lester.
Dutton writes that the Royals are currently weighing whether or not six years of Myers is worth two years of either Lester or Shields. One Royals source told Dutton that it's easy to project Myers as a 30-homer bat at the Major League level within the next two-to-three seasons. At the moment, the Royals, Red Sox and Rays are all said to be hesitant, and no deal is close.
Beyond the debate of which commodity is worth more, the Royals also need to consider their 2013 payroll. Barring a significant increase, the team would have to clear money in order to acquire either contract for next season. That, writes Dutton, could mean moving Bruce Chen's contract and/or taking a "hard look" at Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino. Both are due significant raises in arbitration, as Matt Swartz recently projected for MLBTR.
Myers ranks as the Royals' top prospect according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. The 22-year-old batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season, cementing himself as one of the game's most coveted minor leaguers.
Jeff Francoeur currently projects as Kansas City's right fielder but is coming off a dreadful season in which he hit just .235/.287/.378. The Royals would need to be confident that Francoeur could return to his 2011 numbers if they were to trade Myers, and even still would have a hole in right field beyond 2013.
In his latest blog post, ESPN's Jayson Stark points out that just five teams have $100MM+ committed to their 2013 payroll right now: the Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers, and Blue Jays. None of those teams appear to be done this offseason either. Here's the rest of Stark's rumors...
- The Phillies have kicked around the idea of a contract extension for Roy Halladay, though GM Ruben Amaro said that "a lot has to do with how he feels and how he performs. So that's a decision and a conversation that would probably have to go into the spring, and maybe into the season."
- The two sides actually had preliminary talks about a new contract that would raise Halladay's annual salary north of $24MM and keep him with the Phillies beyond next season. Talks were shelved when the right-hander's shoulder began to act up, however.
- Stark hears that Josh Hamilton is no longer on the Phillies' list, and Amaro said they "haven't been given a real budget. I know it's not unlimited, but that's not usually how we work."
- Teams continue to check in with the Rays about their starting pitchers, and the asking price for James Shields is in the neighborhood of the five-player package Tampa received for Matt Garza two winters ago.
- Those same clubs don't believe the Mets have really put R.A. Dickey on the trade market yet.
- Rumors swirl that Zack Greinke is seeking a six-year contract, but his agent Casey Close has yet to ask for specific offers.
- Scott Rolen has told the Reds he may play next season, but he isn't ready to make a final decision tweets Stark. The team wants him back in some role.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald that he was unsure if he'd be able to acquire Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis) in 2007. “A lot of clubs were involved and I didn’t think it was going to work for us for where we were financially,” said Dombrowski. “Once we sat down with the Marlins, it took us just a day to work out that deal. It happened very fast.”
Here are Silverman's rumors...
- The Dodgers are the favorite to sign Zack Greinke according to an insider. Both the Angels and Rangers are said to be "on the outside looking in."
- The Royals are listening to offers for Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and even Wil Myers. The Rays, meanwhile, are listening on James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
- Despite their pending blockbuster, keep an eye on the Blue Jays and the pitching market. Silverman suggests that Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson could be in play for Toronto.
- The Blue Jays are shopping their three catchers (John Buck, J.P. Arencibia, and Travis d'Arnaud) but are leaning towards Arencibia or d'Arnaud.
Of the nine players who received qualifying offers this offseason, Rafael Soriano is viewed within the game as having taken the biggest financial risk by declining according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post. Teams don't want to invest big in closers because of their volatility now more than ever, especially after year one of the Heath Bell contract. Here are the rest of Sherman's rumors...
- The Yankees are privately pleased that Soriano opted out of his $14MM salary for next season. They'll allocate those dollars elsewhere and could use a portion of it on a reliever to replace Soriano.
- The feeling at the GM Meetings was that the Rays are much more open to trading a starting pitcher for offense than they have been in the past. They would talk about James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, and even Matt Moore in the right deal.
- In the wake of Jason Bay's departure from the Mets, Sherman points out that Tyler Colvin (.150 AVG in 2011) and Andruw Jones (.158 AVG in 2008) are two recent examples of outfielders who turned things around following dreadful seasons. Bay hit .158 this year.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has another batch of news items out of the general managers' meetings in Indian Wells, California...
- While the Rays have the pitching depth to move two of their starters, they're likely to move just one of their pitchers. David Price and James Shields are the biggest trade chips, though most in the industry feel Tampa Bay will keep both aces to make a play for the AL East title in 2013. There is "no chance" Price is dealt this winter, one rival executive tells Rosenthal, though Price could be moved next offseason.
- The Brewers are interested in free agent right-hander Ryan Dempster.
- The Mets' willingness to trade R.A. Dickey is seen by "many in the industry" as a tactic to get Dickey to accept a club-friendly extension, which Rosenthal thinks is a flawed strategy.
- Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima is now a free agent who can sign with Major League teams without going through the posting process. Rosenthal says the shortstop-needy Diamondbacks and Athletics are "at least mildly intrigued" by Nakajima and the Giants could also pursue Nakajima as a second baseman if they can't re-sign Marco Scutaro. The Yankees won the right to negotiate with Nakajima last winter after submitting a winning posting bid of $2MM, but Nakajima couldn't come to terms with New York and he re-signed with the Seibu Lions. The 30-year-old Nakajima has a .310/.381/.474 batting line and 104 homers over the last six years with Seibu.
Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is drawing more trade interest than any other member of the Tampa Bay rotation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. There’s been lots of speculation surrounding James Shields, but it’s Hellickson who has been most popular in the early going of the offseason. Talks are expected to continue at the GM Meetings in California later this week, Heyman writes.
Hellickson, 25, just completed his second full season at the MLB level. He posted a 3.10 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 177 innings over the course of 31 starts. The 2011 Rookie of the Year won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and he'll remain under team control through 2016. Agent Scott Boras represents Hellickson, an indication that agreeing to a long-term extension could be challenging.Both Hellickson and Shields drew interest at the 2012 trade deadline. The Padres, Angels, Dodgers, Twins, Royals and Blue Jays are among the many teams seeking starting pitching this offseason.