5:45pm: Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters (including Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) that his team isn’t looking at the trades like the blockbuster that brought Cole Hamels to Texas in 2015, which would seem to confirm that the Rangers indeed aren’t in on Sale right now.
SUNDAY, 1:40pm: Mark Bowman of MLB.com joins Heyman in reporting that the Braves aren’t willing to give up Swanson, whom the White Sox covet. Discussions between the two teams aren’t leading anywhere as a result (Twitter link). While it won’t surrender Swanson, Atlanta would consider parting with Albies, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).
SATURDAY: The Braves have already added three starting pitchers in Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia early this offseason, and they’re now trying to swing a trade with the White Sox for ace Chris Sale, according to Fanrag’s Jon Heyman. However, there’s competition in the form of the Astros, Nationals, Red Sox, Rangers and Dodgers, writes Heyman, who notes that Los Angeles is lagging behind because it’s hesitant to deal any of its top prospects.
The Dodgers are more focused on bolstering their rotation through free agency than trades, tweets FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, which aligns with a report from earlier Saturday that they have a deal in place to re-sign left-hander Rich Hill. Contrary to Heyman, Rosenthal relays that the Astros and Rangers are out on Sale at the White Sox’s current asking price. And while the Red Sox are involved, they’re also reluctant to meet Chicago’s demands (Twitter link).
After agreeing to sign outfielder/designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, Astros owner Jim Crane told Mark Berman of FOX 26 that the team will go into the winter meetings seeking pitching, but it’s unlikely to make any “big moves” (Twitter link). That would seem to rule out a Sale acquisition for Houston.
Based on reports from Heyman and Rosenthal, both the Braves and National League East rival Nats – who are continuing their discussions with the Pirates regarding center fielder Andrew McCutchen, per Rosenthal – are among the front-runners for Sale.
It’s unlikely the Braves would include prized young shortstop Dansby Swanson in a trade, Heyman suggests, but the belief is that they have the pieces to make a deal happen. Atlanta has major league trade chips in center fielder Ender Inciarte and right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, not to mention a well-regarded prospect pool that features the likes of middle infielder Ozzie Albies, southpaws Sean Newcomb and Kolby Allard, and righties Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint. Baseball America included all five of those players in its Midseason Top 100 prospects list.