10:36pm: The D’Backs are “showing no interest in a salary dump,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link), as the Rangers are offering only “marginal prospects” and they want Arizona to pay a portion of Greinke’s contract (perhaps in the form of Choo’s deal).
8:19pm: Texas isn’t one of the 15 teams on Greinke’s no-trade list, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports (via Twitter). Choo can also list 10 teams per season via his own no-trade clause, though it isn’t known if the D’Backs are included.
7:41pm: The Rangers have been in discussions about the Diamondbacks about starting pitchers, with MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links) reporting that Zack Greinke’s name has been included in the talks. There isn’t any sign that a trade is close to actually happening, though Sullivan says that the negotiations “are real and on-going.”
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link), the Rangers need Shin-Soo Choo to be involved in the deal as well, in order to help balance out the Greinke’s enormous contract. Choo is owed $62MM through the 2020 season, while Greinke still has a whopping $138.5MM owed to him through the 2021 campaign.
For a Rangers team in dire need of pitching help, they would seemingly be a great fit to absorb that extra money on Greinke’s deal while also unloading an extraneous piece in Choo. The outfielder simply hasn’t lived up to expectations since signing that seven-year, $130MM with Texas in the 2013-14 offseason. Choo has been worth only 5.1 fWAR over his first four years in Texas, with most of that total coming just in 2014 (3.6 fWAR), as he has battled injuries and become a defensive liability, though his run-creation numbers are still slightly above average.
Depending on what else is involved in a potential trade, moving Greinke would essentially be something of a salary dump for the D’Backs. Even though the ace righty is coming off an excellent season (rebounding nicely from a down year in 2016), Greinke simply accounts for such a giant portion of Arizona’s payroll that the team is hard-pressed to make many other moves, given that the Snakes are again expected to spend in the $115-$120MM range next year. Greinke at least has much more trade value now than he did last winter in the wake of his tough 2016 campaign, though it would still be a tough blow for the D’Backs to lose their ace while still hoping to build on their NLDS appearance from a year ago.
Since the two teams were engaging in talks on multiple starters, it’s fair to say that Patrick Corbin might be a more reasonable trade candidate that wouldn’t involve nearly the salary machinations of a Greinke/Choo deal. Corbin is projected to earn $8.3MM in 2018, his final year of arbitration eligibility, so he’d also represent some significant payroll savings for Arizona if dealt.