Mystery Team Rumors

Garza Trade From Cubs To Rangers No Longer Imminent

For a while earlier today, it looked like the top available starting pitcher on the trade market could pack his bags for Texas. The Cubs and Rangers reached the point of exchanging medical information on six players who were apparently ready to change teams, most prominent among them the Cubs' Matt Garza.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and president Theo Epstein have already been active on the trade front this summer, dealing Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to the Orioles, sending Scott Hairston to the Nats, swapping Carlos Marmol and an international bonus slot for Matt Guerrier, and sending Ronald Torreyes to the Astros for international bonus money. A Garza deal would be the duo's highest-profile trade of the summer and arguably the highest-profile trade of their tenure with the Cubs. It could also have the most impact of any 2013 trade deadline deal.

With the Cubs now reportedly looking to open talks back up with other clubs, even as they continue to talk with the Rangers, let's take stock of where we're at and track new updates right here:

  • The prospective trade broke down over the medicals of one player, tweets Bowden. He says that the clubs are "working hard" to re-formulate the deal with a replacement piece. Quite the opposite is true, according to Sullivan, who writes that "right now there is nothing happening" and that "tonight is not the night."
  • The loss of momentum between the Cubs and Rangers occured after the teams had swapped medical information on the players that were to be involved, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. If medical concerns are to blame, Passan says it was likely not an issue with Garza, since the Rangers are apparently continuing to pursue him. 
  • Some of the deal's apparent urgency may have come from the fact that the Rangers hoped that Garza would pitch for the club tomorrow, explains Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. While the team thought at one point that a deal could have been locked down as early as yesterday, Wilson says that club officials now do not believe an agreement is likely tonight.
  • While various trade packages were discussed and reported, the Rangers prospects believed to be potentially in play at this point are third baseman Mike Olt and starters Neil Ramirez and C.J. Edwards. As Passan also reported, the Rangers also inquired about Cubs reliever James Russell, though it is not known whether he was a part of the trade that almost went through. (MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan first reported that the deal under consideration likely included Ramirez, Olt and Edwards.)
  • As for other teams that could jump in, we learned earlier of a possible "mystery team" that was rumored to play in the National League. Previous National League clubs that have been connected to Garza include the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Pirates. The Cubs have not re-engaged the Dodgers at this point, however, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • While the Cardinals have been connected to Garza as well, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets that they are not the unnamed team in the mix. The Nationals also appear to be out of the race, both Wittenmyer and ESPN's Jim Bowden (Twitter link) report. Of course, at this point, it seems that negotiations could pick up with any club — American or National League — that has the need and the means for Garza.

Earlier Updates (reverse chronological order)

  • Garza's agent (Nez Balelo of CAA Sports) has reportedly been notified by the Cubs that a trade could be coming, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (free registration required). Garza himself confirmed that notification, though he downplayed its significance given his seemingly annual involvement in trade rumors.
  • A deal sending Garza to the Rangers "will get done," according to a source of Jim Bowden of ESPN (Twitter link). He says that Neil Ramirez is expected to be the featured piece going back to the Cubs. While Ramirez was reported to have been scratched from his minor league start today, according to a Bowden tweet, Bowden retracted that information shortly thereafter (via Twitter). 
  • A Cubs source tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that a mystery NL team has joined the fray and may intercept Garza (Twitter link). Previous National League clubs that have been connected to Garza include the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Pirates. The Cardinals have been connected to Garza as well, but in a separate tweet, Wittenmyer adds that they are not the unnamed team in the mix.
  • MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez points out that both the Rangers and Cubs have committed all of their international signing money, so no bonus slots can be used as a component to this trade (Twitter link).
  • MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers would like to get a deal completed in time for Garza to start for them tomorrow night against the Orioles. The two sides are discussing Ramirez, Olt and Edwards, but the Rangers are unwilling to part with Martin Perez or Luke Jackson. Their refusal on Perez is nothing new, but this is the first report that they're unwilling to part with Jackson.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Rangers minor league right-hander Neil Ramirez has also been discussed in trade talks.
  • The Cubs and Rangers are on the verge of completing a trade that would send Matt Garza to Texas in exchange for "a strong package of prospects," according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The two sides have discussed prospects at multiple levels, including third baseman Mike Olt and right-hander C.J. Edwards, as Rosenthal reported last night. Rosenthal notes that other interested parties such as the Red Sox, Indians, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Cardinals are reluctant to meet the club's asking price for Garza, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Saunders, White Sox, Konerko, Prospects

Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar tops MLB.com's list of the top 100 prospects in baseball for 2013.  Profar has been the subject of many trade rumors this winter but the Rangers are unwilling to move him, for good reason given his high ceiling.  Of the six prospects atop MLB.com's list, two (Wil Myers and Travis d'Arnaud) were dealt to new teams this offseason and another (Taijuan Walker) would have been on the move were it not for Justin Upton's no-trade clause.

Here are some items from around the Majors…

  • Joe Saunders has been offered a two-year deal worth roughly $15MM from an unknown team, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports, though his sources aren't directly involved in the negotiations.  The Orioles aren't the mystery team, as Baltimore would prefer to sign Saunders to a one-year deal with a team option for the second year.  Connolly says the O's are still interested in Saunders despite their recent agreement with Jair Jurrjens.  Besides the O's, the Mariners and Twins have also been linked to Saunders this winter, and the Twins have offered Saunders a one-year deal.
  • The White Sox are still looking for a left-handed hitter, MLB.com Scott Merkin tweets.  Such a player is likely to be a platooner or bench depth at this point in the offseason.
  • Paul Konerko tells CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien that his on-field performance won't be the key factor if he decides to retire after the 2013 season.  "Don't look at the numbers, that if things are going well [in 2013], that necessarily means I would play [after this season]. And the reverse of that is true, too," Konerko said.  It was almost a year ago that Konerko told Garfien that he was pondering retirement once his contract is up.
  • It's hard to find ace-level pitching available in a trade, but Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal cites Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy and Jarrod Parker as pitchers who could be on the block should their teams fall out of contention next season.  Parker may seem like a premature trade target but MacPherson notes that "the Athletics have a history of trading young pitchers for even younger pitchers."
  • The Rangers have signed the most international prospects that appear in Baseball America's 2013 Prospect Handbook, B-A's Ben Badler writes.  Fifteen international players originally signed by the Rangers are ranked either among their own top 30 prospects or in the top-30 lists of other teams, as determined by Baseball America.  At the bottom of the list are the Astros, who have just two international signings ranked.

Kyle Farnsworth Nearing Decision

Free agent reliever Kyle Farnsworth is close to picking a new team, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Farnsworth is deciding between two clubs, one of which is the Rays.

Interest in Farnsworth has intensified recently, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last week. The Meister Sports Management client had multiple offers at that time. Farnsworth, 36, posted a 4.00 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and a 55.1% ground ball rate in 27 innings for the Rays in 2012. He earned $3.3MM in 2012, up from $2.6MM in 2011.

Farnsworth has been linked to the Rays and Brewers so far this offseason. The Rays, Tigers, Blue Jays, Mariners, Marlins and Mets are among the teams that appear to be seeking late-inning relief.



Quick Hits: Wuertz, Webb, Wheeler

Rafael Soriano’s two-year, $28MM agreement with the Nationals dominated headlines this afternoon, but let’s not let the news overshadow some other notes from around MLB. Here are Tuesday’s links…

  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis suggests reliever Michael Wuertz will soon sign a minor league deal with a National League team (Twitter link).
  • NL East teams such as the Phillies, Marlins, Nationals and Mets are keeping tabs on free agent right-hander Brandon Webb, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Mets won’t trade Zack Wheeler to acquire Justin Upton from Arizona, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link). The Mets and Diamondbacks don’t see a fit for a deal involving Upton at this point, Heyman adds. New York does have interest in high-profile outfielders such as Upton.
  • The Red Sox have seen all of Javier Vazquez's starts in Puerto Rico, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). Many clubs will be watching the free agent right-hander pitch today, Gammons notes. Vazquez, 36, has said he's not in a hurry to sign.

Quick Hits: Mets, Anibal, Brewers, Bourjos

MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the R.A. Dickey trade, the Josh Hamilton signing, the Anibal Sanchez deal and the latest rumors on todays’ edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast. Click here to listen in, and continue reading for the latest from around the league…

  • The Mets are closing in on adding an outfielder, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Puma's source tells him that the player hasn't previously been linked to the Mets (Twitter links). Puma doesn't specify if the acquisition would come via free agency or trade. New York has previously been linked to Cody Ross, which seems to rule him out.
  • Sanchez's agent, Gene Mato, told Anthony Fetch of the Detroit Free Press that Sanchez left a larger offer from an unnamed team on the table at the Winter Meetings. The right-hander didn't want to make his decision based solely on money but also on where he felt comfortable.
  • Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM that his team is interested in Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor, Kyle Farnsworth and Mike Gonzalez (Twitter link).
  • Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets that the Marlins aren't particularly interested in Peter Bourjos because they'd prefer a better hitting outfielder. Earlier today it was reported that the Fish may be interested in Bourjos.
  • Some teams aren't convinced that Hiroyuki Nakajima's glove is good enough to play shortstop at the Major League level, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN. The Japanese slugger signed with the Athletics earlier today.
  • Former Cubs coach Pat Listach has been hired by the Dodgers as the team's new minor league infield coordinator, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).

Jason Grilli Close To Deal

10:24am: It will be a two-year deal and the Giants are out, tweets Rosenthal.  Pirates GM Neal Huntington said today that they made a "very fair offer" to Grilli.

THURSDAY, 8:28am: Grilli will decide between the Cubs, Blue Jays, Giants, and Pirates at 10am today, or earlier if one of the teams goes to three years on the 36-year-old, tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Grilli will stay in Pittsburgh if no one adds the third year.

WEDNESDAY, 4:38pm: Grilli is still wading through all the offers presented to him, Sheffield told MLB.com's Tom Singer.  The Brewers haven't talked with Sheffield this week, GM Doug Melvin told reporters.

12:42pm: If Grilli is close to a deal, it's not with the Brewers, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

10:50am: Jason Grilli's agent, former MLB slugger Gary Sheffield, tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) that he's nearing a deal for his client. However, Sheffield didn't reveal which team was closing in on Grilli.

As Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes, Grilli is expected to choose from nearly a dozen suitors today, with the Pirates still in the mix. The right-hander figures to land a multiyear contract.


Dodgers, Rangers Battling For Greinke

Although Dan Haren found a deal this morning, much of the free agent pitching market remains on hold while Zack Greinke seeks a contract, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. As we wait for the dominos to begin to fall, we'll track today's Greinke updates right here, with the newest additions at the top of the page:

  • In an update on his previous report, Heyman writes that a third team could be involved, but that people most familiar with the situation expect the Dodgers or Rangers to sign Greinke for $160MM+. Some have speculated that number could reach as high as $175MM. The Rangers' talks with Josh Hamilton appear to be on hold while they pursue Greinke.

Earlier updates:

  • The Greinke derby appears to be between the Rangers and Dodgers, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and the deal is likely to be for $160MM+.  The largest-ever contract signed by a pitcher is $161MM, from the Yankees for C.C. Sabathia four years ago.
  • The Dodgers would be surprised to see a resolution on the Greinke situation before they leave the Winter Meetings, tweets Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.
  • Dodgers manager Don Mattingly met with Greinke last week in Los Angeles, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.'
  • Greinke is still "going through the process" with teams, so his situation hasn't gained clarity yet, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
  • The Dodgers and Rangers appear to be the favorites for Greinke, with the Angels as the dark horse, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and SiriusXM also considers those three teams to be the strongest suitors for Greinke, though he views the Angels as a more likely candidate than the Rangers (Twitter link). With the Nats out and the Braves unlikely, Bowden wonders if a mystery team, such as the Blue Jays, Red Sox, or White Sox, could get involved.

Red Sox Closing In On Shane Victorino

4:01pm: Things are "moving fast" on the Victorino front, with the Sox in a good position to finalize a deal, says ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com adds (on Twitter) that nothing is done yet, but that it's getting close.  Victorino has at least one four-year offer from a different team, notes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

3:25pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports clarifies (via Twitter) that the exact terms of the Red Sox offer are three years at $37.5MM. There's optimism that the two sides will get a deal done at that price, says Cafardo (via Twitter).

3:09pm: The Red Sox are the frontrunners on Victorino, having offered a three-year deal worth $38MM, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter).

3:02pm: There are two teams "fully engaged" in talks with Victorino, including the Indians, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. It's not clear whether the other club involved is the Red Sox or the aforementioned "mystery team."

2:27pm: Victorino appears to have narrowed his options to three teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Indians and Red Sox remain in the mix, along with a third club. That third suitor isn't a true "mystery team," says Heyman — it's just unknown to him.

12:02pm: Momentum is building in talks for free agent outfielder Shane Victorino, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, who tweets that a deal could be finalized during the Winter Meetings. Crasnick reports (via Twitter) that the Indians have emerged as a "prime suitor" for Victorino, with manager Terry Francona reaching out personally to the Flyin' Hawaiian earlier in the offseason.

Besides the Indians, other teams checking in on Victorino include the Red Sox, Cubs, and Yankees, says Crasnick (Twitter link). The Braves and Reds don't appear to be engaged in discussions, and the Phillies' interest is "tepid," according to the ESPN.com scribe.

Crasnick adds in a final tweet that Angel Pagan's and B.J. Upton's deals appear to be helping Victorino, who should be in line for a three- or four-year contract. Upton earned a five-year, $75MM deal from the Braves, while Pagan agreed to a four-year, $40MM contract with the Giants yesterday.


Six Teams In On Anibal Sanchez

Yesterday, we heard that the Tigers remain in contact with Anibal Sanchez, while the Angels and Royals are among the other teams considering the right-hander. We'll track today's Sanchez updates here, with the latest news up top:

  • The Mystery Team has finally showed up in Nashville! Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that, in addition to the Tigers, Angels, Royals, Dodgers, and Red Sox, a mystery team is in the mix for Sanchez.
  • Although the Red Sox have interest in Sanchez, the price might be too high for their liking, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Boston may look at Kyle Lohse as an alternative, though the club is focused on adding offense for now.

Felix Doubront Claimed On Waivers

Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront was claimed on waivers by an unidentified team yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. American League teams had waiver priority on Doubront, who has put together a solid season in Boston's rotation.

The 24-year-old has a 4.79 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 127 2/3 innings over the course of 23 starts for the Red Sox. He won't be arbitration eligible before the end of the 2013 season (he's a possible super two player) and will remain under team control through 2017.

Doubront was reportedly on waivers as early as August 16th. Either he’s on waivers for the second time (in which case the waivers are no longer revocable) or there’s been an erroneous report. Rosenthal has suggested the Red Sox could send Doubront to the Twins in a possible trade for Joe Mauer, who was recently placed on waivers.