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The Mariners continue discussing an extension with Felix Hernandez, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The sides aren’t close to a deal, and are now “dancing.” However, Seattle is at least considering a four-year, $100MM offer, according to Rosenthal. It’s not clear if the Mariners have offered a nine-figure deal to Hernandez, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. The 26-year-old Octagon client would presumably want a longer commitment, as Rosenthal points out. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…
- The Mariners’ willingness to add veterans approaching free agency suggests GM Jack Zduriencik senses an urgency to win now in the view of some rival executives.
- Justin Upton won’t be traded for Chase Headley, an official from one of the teams involved told Rosenthal. Headley is two years away from free agency, however, and Rosenthal suggests that the Padres figure to move him eventually. Upton, another trade candidate, is under contract through 2015.
- The Diamondbacks and Rangers haven’t revived Upton-centered trade talks since the Mariners’ failed attempt at acquiring the 25-year-old right fielder. Rosenthal reports that the sides agreed to “move on.” When the teams were last in contact the Rangers offered a four-played package led by Mike Olt that would have included shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and either Martin Perez or Cody Buckel plus a fourth prospect.
- The Rangers continue pondering one significant move. They are viewed as possible destinations for Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn, and could also pursue relief help. The Rangers discussed right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard with the Nationals earlier this offseason, Rosenthal reports.
- The Nationals could trade Clippard or Drew Storen now that they’ve signed Rafael Soriano. One rival executive suggested Washington could sign Lohse, but Rosenthal writes that a deal with free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez seems more likely.
A ridiculous number of three and four-team trade scenarios have been discussed at the Winter Meetings, most of them seemingly involving Arizona's Justin Upton winding up with the Rangers. We'll track the latest on the discussions right here:
- The Upton talks aren't dead and never have been, an involved official tells Ken Rosenthal, but it doesn't have more legs than it did two weeks ago.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels left the Winter Meetings without a deal, telling reporters including Jeff Wilson, "I would have guessed something would have happened here. And I would have been wrong. It hasn't gotten to the point where something had fallen through that I thought was going to get done."
- The Rangers, D'Backs, and Rays are still at the Winter Meetings, working on an Upton blockbuster according to Rosenthal. A friend of Rays top exec Andrew Friedman says that while Friedman has never done a three-way trade, he's determined to get one done.
- D'backs GM Kevin Towers made it clear that he seeks a shortstop he controls for more than two years, so it seems Elvis Andrus or Asdrubal Cabrera would not be sufficient, tweets Jim Bowden of SiriusXM and ESPN.
- Rosenthal has one possible outcome: Upton to the Rangers, a Rays starter to the D'Backs, and Mike Olt and other prospects to the Rays. The scenario doesn't seem to satisfy the needs of the D'Backs and Rays, but we'll see.
- There's nothing close on the Upton front, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told Bob Nightengale.
- Bowden adds (also via Twitter) that the Mariners' reasoning for being in these talks is to use their prospects to ensure that Upton lands with Texas, which will open the door for them to sign Josh Hamilton. The Mariners are reportedly in serious talks with Hamilton, who considers them his fallback should he not sign with Texas.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweets that the Diamondbacks will not budge from their insistence that Andrus or Profar be included in a trade with the Rangers. As such, they're more likely to trade two young pitchers to the Indians to land Cabrera.
- The fourth team in some permutations of the blockbuster is the Mariners, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One official in the talks sees them as the biggest roadblock, as they're unsure whether to move forward and surrender prospects. A source tells Rosenthal the player the Mariners want most in these talks is Derek Holland of the Rangers. Rosenthal says Rangers GM Jon Daniels is driving the trade, "feverishly trying to land" Upton. In the end, the FOX writer says the four-team blockbuster "appears unlikely to happen."
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said today, "I've had more multi-team talks this year than ever before. In every discussion it seems three or four teams are involved."
- One scenario had Upton going to the Rangers, Cabrera to the D'Backs, and Martin Perez and more to the Indians, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Indians are pushing for the Diamondbacks to include Tyler Skaggs in a deal for Cabrera, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. However, Arizona would prefer to move Trevor Bauer.
- Although the Diamondbacks like many of the Rangers' prospects, such as Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, and Cody Buckel, they continue to want Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in return for Upton, tweets Passan. At this point, it seems more likely that the D-Backs would move Upton in a multi-team scenario that nets them Cabrera rather than trading straight-up with the Rangers.
11:29am: Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers tells Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (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.
The Angels won the Zack Greinke sweepstakes last night, acquiring the former Cy Young Award winner in exchange for prospects Jean Segura, John Hellweg, and Ariel Pena. We've already seen some reactions to the trade as well as a breakdown of its impact on the Rangers, but here are some more details on the pursuit of the right-hander…
- Righties Justin Grimm and Cody Buckel were the top pieces in the Rangers offer, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Brewers valued a young shortstop and wanted Martin Perez to compensate.
- Rosenthal also hears that the Angels' late inclusion of Pena in their offer swung things in their favor (Twitter link).
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams "worked his tail off" to land Greinke according to Rosenthal (on Twitter), even trying to include a third team before failing to find a match.
- MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports (on Twitter) that the Nationals expressed interest in Greinke, perhaps in preparation for Stephen Strasburg's eventual shutdown. The Braves were also in the mix.
Besides the Angels and Brewers themselves, perhaps no team was as impacted by the Zack Greinke trade as the Rangers. Here's the latest on the Rangers' own pursuit of Greinke and how they plan to counter the Angels' newest salvo in the battle for the AL West.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that the Rangers were the other finalist for Greinke's services. The Rangers offered Leury Garcia, Chad Bell and Justin Grimm to the Brewers.
- Had the Rangers been willing to include third base prospect Mike Olt in their offer to the Brewers, Greinke probably would've ended up in Texas, USA Today's Bob Nightengale. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, however, reports the Brewers wanted Martin Perez and didn't "insist" on Olt or Jurickson Profar, though Texas still felt the requested package of prospects was too much (both links are to Twitter).
- With Greinke gone, the Rangers won't necessarily try to acquire Josh Johnson or James Shields, a source tells MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Marlins and Rays have put a high price tag on their aces and the Rangers may wait to see if they lower their demands. Sullivan notes that if the Rangers weren't willing to deal the likes of Olt for Greinke, they wouldn't trade him or other top prospects for another pitcher who they didn't value as highly.
- The Rangers also valued Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee more than they did Greinke, reports Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Hamels just signed an extension to remain in Philadelphia and the Rangers shied away from the large salary still owed to Lee through the 2015 season.
- The Rangers are "unlikely" to get Johnson, while they're still in play for Shields, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
The Brewers are looking to sell and, based on his most recent start, Zack Greinke is healthy. The right-hander figures to continue drawing heavy interest in the days leading up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. He’s clearly the top arm available with Cole Hamels locked up to an extension in Philadelphia. The Rangers, Angels, Braves and White Sox are interested in Greinke and the Red Sox and Nationals might be considered suitors too. Here are the latest rumors surrounding the Greinke with the most recent rumors up top…
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin's comments this evening were measured compared to ones made earlier today where he sounded certain of a Greinke trade, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. "I just said there was that possibility," Melvin said. "I don't think there's any secret, with the Trade Deadline, that this is a possibility. Zack knows that. We know that. Other teams know that." McCalvy writes that the Rangers, Angels, and Braves appear to be the most serious suitors for Greinke.
- The Dodgers aren't pursuing Greinke at this point, sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The White Sox seem completely focused on trying to get Greinke, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- Greinke will be traded before the July 31st deadline, GM Doug Melvin told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Melvin said Greinke could handle pitching in a large market. "There are so many good things about him, it's going to be difficult when we trade him,'' Melvin said. GMs and executives agree Greinke is the prize pitcher available in trades, Nightengale reports.
- One source believes Greinke will be traded before Ryan Dempster, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin confirmed on WTMJ radio that he's taking phone calls and acknowledged that Greinke could be traded before his next start (transcript via Tom Haudricourt). "At this point we have to listen to opportunities to improve the ball club for the future and still try to win ball games now," Melvin said.
- Melvin added that the Brewers haven't had recent extension talks with Greinke.
- The Brewers are taking calls from teams interested in acquiring Greinke, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "It sounds like he's as good as gone," one person told Haudricourt.
- Haudricourt offers a detailed look at which prospects interest the Brewers’ decision makers. Milwaukee would love to have Rangers shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar, but the Rangers consider him untouchable. The Brewers would be very interested in Rangers left-hander Martin Perez and have scouted right-hander Justin Grimm.
- The Brewers are thought to rank Braves right-hander Julio Teheran ahead of Randall Delgado and Mike Minor, according to Haudricourt. The Brewers want pitchers who can contribute at the MLB level soon.
- Milwaukee prefers Angels shortstop prospect Jean Segura to Garrett Richards, Haudricourt writes.
- The White Sox also appear to have considerable interest in Greinke.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria may soon be faced with the question about selling at the deadline, something he wanted to avoid in the first year of the club's new ballpark. The best thing they could do to improve their farm system likely involves trading guys like Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and the newly acquired Carlos Lee.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams always thinks big and it would not be surprising to see him get in on pitcher such as Zack Greinke. The problem is that his farm system doesn't have much to offer and they don't want to give up pieces off the big league roster while contending.
- The best guess right now has the Padres keeping Carlos Quentin and trading Chase Headley. Rosenthal says it's simple supply-and-demand; as many as ten teams have shown interest in the third baseman Headley. The team isn't sure they can get more for Quentin in a trade than they would by letting him walk as a free agent and recouping draft picks after the season.
- The Orioles are clearly buyers. They're willing to trade any prospect not named Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but they probably don't have enough to get Greinke. They do have interest in lesser arms like Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas, as well as leadoff man Juan Pierre.
- The Brewers could pit the Rangers and Angels against each other in the Greinke sweepstakes. Texas is unwilling to trade Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, or Martin Perez for a rental, which could create an opening for the Halos if they're willing to deal Major League talent.
- The Phillies do not intend to trade Cliff Lee to create payroll room for Cole Hamels. If they do keep Hamels long-term, they could have $140MM tied up in just eight players going into next season.
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- Levine explained that relatively innocent conversations with scouts can turn into full-blown trade talks because they highlight needs and surpluses.
- The Rangers don’t have an established left-handed reliever after losing Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez in free agency, but they’re pleased with the increased velocity non-roster invitee Neal Cotts is showing early on in camp.
- Young pitchers such as Martin Perez have impressed the Rangers' front office and Levine expects contributions at the MLB level in the 'not-so-distant future.'
- The Rangers consider Josh Hamilton an elite center fielder, but they continue to play him in left field since they generally believe he's more likely to stay in the lineup as a corner outfielder.
- Though Levine didn't comment in detail on extension talks with Hamilton, he did say the club intends to keep as many of its core position players in place for as long as possible. Hamilton is eligible for free agency after the season, but the Rangers haven't ruled out in-season talks for their top position players.
The latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark…
- The Rays listened on James Shields last week, but now they've taken him off the market for July and apparently the upcoming offseason.
- An executive who spoke with the Cubs says the level of interest in first baseman Carlos Pena has been exaggerated. That's pretty damning, since publicly the level of interest has always appeared tepid. Also, Stark says the Cubs believe Pena could get through waivers in August. I disagree with the notion that there will be a lot less money left on Pena's contract at that point, since half of the $10MM is to be paid in January.
- Kosuke Fukudome might be the one Cub dealt at the July deadline. We still haven't heard which teams are on his partial no-trade list, however.
- The Rangers are balking at including lefty Martin Perez in a deal. Perez is a consensus top-13 prospect in all of MLB. However, the Rangers will discuss their next tier of prospects - Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Erlin, Roman Mendez and Barret Loux, in Stark's mind.
- A longtime friend of Drayton McLane believes McLane's last act as Astros owner will be to convince GM Ed Wade to retain favorite Hunter Pence.
Now that we know for sure that Cliff Lee is headed to the Rangers, the pundits are already chiming in about the big swap — both about what it means for Texas and Seattle, and about what it means for the teams that fell short in the Lee sweepstakes.
- Since the Rangers didn't have to give up any of their blue-chip pitching prospects, the trade is "a huge, huge 'win' for" Texas, tweets Evan P. Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Grant also tweets that he was told that one of those young pitchers, Martin Perez, "was deemed untouchable" by the team.
- Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio thinks "both teams win on this deal," though the Rangers are the "biggest winner" since it helps their chances in October. Bowden also compliments the Mariners for getting more talent back for Lee than they dealt to acquire him in the winter. (Twitter link).
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes that last night, the Rangers thought that Lee was going to the Yankees. (Twitter link) Nightengale also thinks this trade makes Texas GM Jon Daniels the executive of the year.
- The Phillies are taking some heat for not getting as much minor league talent for Lee when they dealt him over the winter. ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that one scouting director rated Philadelphia's haul for Lee as "last by a long shot" compared to what Seattle and Cleveland both got for the pitcher within the last year.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds "made what they thought was a serious offer" for Lee today, though Fay thinks both "the Rangers and Yankees offered a better package than the Reds could have put together."
- Ed Price of Fanhouse.com comments that the Rays didn't want to give up any significant prospects for Lee (via Twitter), while the Mets simply didn't have the caliber of prospects that Seattle was looking for. Price notes, however, that Jeremy Guthrie could be on the Mets' radar screen.
- The Mets could use this Lee deal as a guideline, however, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. The Mets could follow the Rangers' example and try to get a trading partner to add money into a deal, since Olney reports that New York won't be able to add to their payroll before the deadline.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon is unsurprisingly happy that Lee isn't in Yankee pinstripes, reports Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski says his team "had interest [in Lee], but we didn’t come close to a deal," reports John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
- Alyson Footer of MLB.com tweets that the Lee trade may help Houston move Roy Oswalt, since the "more attractive pitcher is off the table & Roy is the next best option."