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One AL GM said the Indians got “incredible value” for Shin-Soo Choo by obtaining Trevor Bauer in last night’s three-team trade, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. While evaluators love Didi Gregorius’ glove, they wonder if the Diamondbacks’ new infielder will hit enough to merit an everyday job. Here's the latest from Olney (some Twitter links)…
- Free agent right-hander Brian Wilson is expected to have opportunities to close, Olney writes. The Giants non-tendered their longtime closer last month, making him a free agent.
- Agents and executives wonder what will happen with free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, Olney reports(on Twitter). In my view the Rangers and Mariners appear to be two possible destinations for the Scott Boras client.
- The Indians could still trade Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Vinnie Pestano, as Olney points out (on Twitter). There’s “not much action” on Chris Perez, however.
- Some evaluators say the Red Sox are poised to move on the pitching market as prices drop, according to Olney(on Twitter). GM Ben Cherington figures to add starting pitching depth at some point, as his projected rotation consists of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Franklin Morales.
- It’s apparent that the Mariners aren’t the top choice of the best free agent hitters. Olney suggests Seattle will end up signing a leftover player, though they’re pressing to land someone of note.
- Phillies officials have privately maintained that they’d be prepared to offer Josh Hamilton a three-year deal.
8:12pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they have acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius, left-handed pitcher Tony Sipp, and first baseman Lars Anderson from the Indians in exchange for right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. The Reds are receiving Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald in the swap and are sending Drew Stubbs to Cleveland as well. The Indians will send the Reds approximately $3.5MM to account for the differences in projected salaries between Choo and Stubbs, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
The Reds will use Choo in center field even though he hasn't played there for the Indians since 2009 and has played just ten MLB games at the position in total. The Reds are banking on the 30-year-old's offensive production being able to make up for whatever they might lose defensively. The veteran owns a .289/.381/.465 slash line across eight major league seasons.
Choo, a Scott Boras client, is set to hit the open market after the 2013 season. The Indians have been said to have him available via trade, albeit with a high price tag. The Reds will plug Choo in as the leadoff hitter, a role they have been working hard to fill. The club spoke with the Twins about Ben Revere before he was traded to the Phillies and also had conversations with the Rockies about Dexter Fowler.
Stubbs, 28, struggled at the plate in 2012 as he posted a .213/.277/.333 batting line with 14 home runs in 544 plate appearances. The former eighth-overall pick in the 2006 draft has a .241/.312/.386 across four big league seasons with the Reds.
It was believed that the initial acquisition of Gregorius by the Indians would pave the way for them to deal fellow shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but they instead flipped Gregorius and kept Cabrera. The 22-year-old Gregorius won't be arbitration eligible until 2016 and won't see the open market until 2019. The Netherlands native split time between Double-A and Triple-A last season, hitting .265/.324/.393 with seven homers in 561 plate appearances. The 27-year-old Cabrera, meanwhile, is set to earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before hitting free agency. Gregorius entered 2012 as the Reds' sixth-best prospect, according to Baseball America. The publication also had him ranked as the organization’s best defensive infielder and deemed him to have the best throwing arm in the farm system.
Sipp posted a 4.42 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances last season. The 29-year-old was a fixture in the Indians' bullpen, making 248 relief appearances with Cleveland from 2009-12.
The Indians acquired Anderson at the trade deadline this year from the Red Sox in exchange for Double-A starter Steven Wright. The 25-year-old posted a .250/.353/.396 slash line in 111 games for Triple-A Pawtucket and Triple-A Columbus. Anderson has also played in 30 big league games for the Red Sox across three seasons.
Bauer, 21, was the third overall selection by Arizona in the 2011 Draft out of UCLA. Baseball America had Bauer as the ninth-best prospect in baseball entering 2012. The hurler spent most of 2012 between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno where he had a combined 2.42 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 22 starts. Bauer became the first member of the 2011 draft to appear in the big leagues when he made four starts for the Diamondbacks in July.
Albers, 29, spent 2012 with the Red Sox and D'Backs, posting a 2.39 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 63 relief appearances. For his career, Albers owns a 4.68 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.
Shaw, 25, spent the bulk of last season in the Arizona bullpen where he had a 3.49 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 64 relief appearances. The right-hander was taken in the second-round of the 2008 draft by the Diamondbacks and has seen time in 97 big league games across the last two seasons.
8:04pm: The portion of the deal involving the Diamondbacks and Indians has not been finalized, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (via Twitter).
7:50pm: The deal sending Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds has been completed, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). The Reds will also receive Jason Donald in the trade, Heyman confirms (via Twitter).
The three-team deal that was being worked on had Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald going to the Reds, Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks, and Drew Stubbs plus an Arizona pitcher going to the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Patrick Corbin or Trevor Bauer will likely be the Arizona pitcher going to Cleveland, Rosenthal tweets.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first reported that the Reds were close to acquiring Choo in a deal with the Indians netting them Stubbs and Gregorius. Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reported that the D'Backs were involved, making it a three-team deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the framework of the trade.
The Rangers lost out on a trade target when the Royals acquired James Shields last night, just days after losing out on free agent target Zack Greinke. Things aren't going exactly as they've planned this offseason, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a host of Rangers updates in his latest column…
- A rival executive told Rosenthal that the Rangers are either going to overpay Josh Hamilton or overpay Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers for Justin Upton. Rangers GM Jon Daniels is so focused on Upton that he figures to eventually land him, writes Rosenthal.
- It's not completely out of the question that the Rangers could acquire Upton and still sign Hamilton now that Greinke is off the table.
- Anibal Sanchez is a long shot for the Rangers, but he's on their radar. A trade for R.A. Dickey is also unlikely at this point.
- The team is said to prefer lower-cost starters and could pursue someone like Chris Capuano in a trade to provide an upgrade over Martin Perez.
- The Rangers are interested in A.J. Pierzynski, who would obviously push Geovany Soto into a backup role. Pierzynski's left-handed bat would help to balance a heavily right-handed lineup.
- Ian Kinsler isn't big on the idea of shifting to first base one year into his five-year extension in order to allow Jurickson Profar to play second base, but he will play wherever he's asked.
- Daniels tells Rosenthal he's not planning on Kinsler switching positions yet and is considering all possible scenarios for the 2013 roster.
- A three-team deal with the Rangers, Diamondbacks and Indians was "very close" to happening at the Winter Meetings. The foundation of the deal was Upton to Texas, Cabrera to Arizona, and Mike Olt and one of Trevor Bauer or Patrick Corbin to Cleveland. Presumably, other names were involved.
The Rangers, Diamondbacks, Rays and Indians discussed three and four-team deals in Nashville this past week without agreeing to any trades. However, talks involving Justin Upton and others aren't dead, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported yesterday. Here's the latest with the most recent updates up top…
- Here's how close the Rangers have been to acquiring Upton. Wednesday night a Rangers official phoned an Astros official and said "we got Upton," according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network (on Twitter).
- There has been some frustration with the Mariners this week, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Some consider Seattle a "speed bump" in the process of working out a multi-team deal, Olney writes.
- The Diamondbacks have been working to acquire James Shields from the Rays as part of the three and four-team trades being discussed, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). The Rays might be increasingly willing to move Shields, who has also drawn interest from the Royals. Olney suggests the Diamondbacks could move a young pitcher if they obtain Shields in a multi-team trade. Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer are among the potential trade candidates on Arizona’s roster.
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 Diamondbacks are all over the news on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings in Nashville, with inquiries fielded on outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Kubel, plus the Eric Hinske signing. More on the club:
- The D'Backs have an offer on the table for Barajas, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
- GM Kevin Towers expects to leave Nashville with a backup catcher, according to the team's Twitter feed. He's got multiple offers out right now to free agents. Keep an eye on Rod Barajas, tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
- Hiroyuki Nakajima remains on the Diamondbacks' radar, Towers told reporters including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- Teams are asking the D'Backs about young starters Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Skaggs is believed to be an Indians target in Asdrubal Cabrera trade talks.
Condolences to the family and friends of Lee MacPhail, who passed away at the age of 95 today. MacPhail was a long-time executive who worked with the Yankees and Orioles in addition to serving as Commissioner William Eckert's chief aid. He also served as president of the American League and was the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Here is the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday…
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that Adam LaRoche hasn't heard from the Nationals in a few days, but he's still interested in returning to the team (Twitter link). LaRoche turned down Washington's qualifying offer today.
- The Orioles are still talking to Nate McLouth, reports Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The team is optimistic a deal will get done, but nothing is imminent.
- The Mets have more payroll flexibility than expected, but GM Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he's still "realistic" about the players they can acquire (Twitter links). Alderson referenced the "bottom end" of the free agent market.
- "We are not shopping him," said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez when asked about the Trevor Bauer trade rumors. "Again, if they ask, [GM Kevin Towers'] response is 'Hey, we are willing to listen,' and that's what's happened here."
- Earlier today we heard that the Tigers made a contract offer to Jeremy Bonderman, but the right-hander told MLB.com's Jason Beck that it's news to him (Twitter links). Bonderman cautioned that he usually lets his agent handle contract matters.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that outfielder Nick Weglarz is drawing interest as a free agent thanks to his left-handed bat. The 24-year-old hit .239/.349/.413 with 14 homers in 436 plate appearances for the Indians' Double-A affiliate last year.
The Diamondbacks are already involved in "active discussions" about Justin Upton, and now ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the team will also listen to trade offers for Trevor Bauer (Twitter links). The right-hander has fallen out of favor with some in the organization.
Bauer, 21, was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. He made his MLB debut this season and surrendered 13 runs in 16 1/3 innings across four starts while also battling a groin problem. Bauer pitched to a 2.42 ERA in 130 1/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A this year as well. Between Upton and Bauer, GM Kevin Towers may be in possession of this offseason's two biggest trade chips.
The Diamondbacks are weighing whether Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra is a better fit as their everyday left fielder in 2012, GM Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Snakes are also looking for help at shortstop and third base this winter, and Towers said those decisions will affect the direction that Arizona takes in left field.
"When you put a club together, it’s more of a puzzle,” Towers said. “What you do at short and third maybe changes what your need is in left. If you get more offense on the corner, then maybe there’s more of a premium for the defender in left. If you don’t get the offense and you get the defense in the infield, you have to have your power somewhere."
Piecoro projects the 2013 D'Backs outfield as Justin Upton remaining with the team and playing right field, Adam Eaton playing center, and one of Kubel or Parra in left, leaving A.J. Pollock as the fourth outfielder. The loser of the Kubel/Parra decision would become expendable along with Chris Young, who has already been rumored to be on the trading block. Young is owed $8.5MM in 2013 and his $11MM option for 2014 carries a $1.5MM buyout, and Piecoro reports that the D'Backs expect to eat some of that money in any Young trade.
Kubel signed a two-year, $15MM deal with Arizona last December and he hit 30 homers with a .253/.328/.506 batting line in 2012, though he slumped in the second half of the season, posting just a .745 OPS after the All-Star break. Parra posted a .727 OPS in 430 plate appearances last year and provided his usual excellent glovework, recording a +13.8 UZR/150 rating. It's a clear choice between hitting and defense for the Snakes, though contracts also play a role — while Kubel will earn $7.5MM next year, Parra is arb-eligible for the second time this winter and is under control through 2015 as a Super Two player.
Towers mentioned how defense was an important factor at Chase Field and that he wanted the team to be less reliant on home runs, leaving Piecoro to speculate that this could mean the D'Backs could move away from Kubel in left and Chris Johnson at third base.
In other team news, Piecoro hears that Trevor Bauer isn't likely to be traded. D'Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick sounded critical of Bauer last week, leading to some speculation that the team had soured on the highly-touted 21-year-old. If Arizona actually did make Bauer available, the 2011 third overall pick would instantly become one of the biggest trade chips on the market this offseason.