As Hot Stove season cranks up, one of the hottest names in the rumor mill is D-backs outfielder Justin Upton. But according to our own Steve Gilbert, Arizona GM Kevin Towers said on Thursday he is “in no rush” to deal the talented 25-year-old, who is coming off a down year.
While Towers is having discussions about Upton at the General Manager Meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., they are still preliminary and figure to take time, if they go through at all. The D-backs are looking for Major League-ready players, rather than prospects, in exchange for Upton, a two-time All-Star who is signed through 2015.
In other news:
- The Dodgers, looking to go the free agency route for help in their starting rotation, have Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez at the top of their list, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Sources have told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Sanchez’s agent is asking teams for a contract in the $90 million range over six years. Besides the Dodgers, the teams interested include the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rangers.
- The Mets continue to talk to third baseman David Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey about contract extensions, our own Anthony DiComo reports. But New York also is looking into trading Dickey, a leading Cy Young Award contender, according to Heyman.
- There is a possibility the Rays could trade two starting pitchers this offseason, but it’s more likely the club will deal only one, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. David Price and James Shields are among the candidates to go.
– Andrew Simon
- The A’s will send right-handed reliever Fautino De Los Santos to the Brewers in exchange for catcher George Kottaras, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Kottaras was designated for assignment on Thursday, but no trade has officially be announced.
- Zack Greinke is off the board, and the Braves might not be able to close a deal for Ryan Dempster either. That has led Atlanta to search elsewhere for starting pitching help while also taking a look at the market for relievers, reported our own Mark Bowman.
- The Cardinals are looking to upgrade their starting pitching, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Francisco Liriano was one option, but the White Sox nabbed him on Saturday night. That could lead St. Louis to focus more heavily on the Rays’ James Shields, who is attracting interest from several clubs.
- The race for Padres third baseman Chase Headley is hotly contested but apparently no longer includes the A’s, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Teams looking for bullpen help are considering Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, with the Orioles, Yankees and A’s among the possibilities, reported Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
- Should the struggling Phillies decide to sell, Shane Victorino could be at the front of the line heading out of Philadelphia. Talks regarding the veteran center fielder are “getting warm,” according to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Outfielders Juan Pierre and Hunter Pence and starting pitcher Joe Blanton also could be trade bait.
- The Red Sox’s interest in Mariners lefty starter Jason Vargas is “mild,” according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
– Andrew Simon
The White Sox moved to solidify their starting rotation shortly after Saturday night’s win over the Rangers, acquiring lefty Francisco Liriano from the Twins in exchange for infielder Eduardo Escobar and lefty Pedro Hernandez.
Liriano, 28, is only 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA this season but has pitched much better since returning May 30 from a stint in the bullpen. In 10 starts since then, he owns a 3.68 ERA, 79 strikeouts and 29 walks in 66 innings, despite a rough outing on Monday. Coincidentally, that came courtesy of the White Sox, who also fell victim to a Liriano no-hitter last May 3.
Escobar, 23, has spent the entire season on Chicago’s 25-man roster, appearing in 36 games at second base, third base and shortstop. He is hitting .207 with four doubles and a triple.
Hernandez, also 23, has posted a 2.94 ERA over 15 appearances, including 14 starts, between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He also made one start with the White Sox, giving up eight runs on 12 hits July 18 at Boston.
– Andrew Simon
- The Giants added some infield depth on Friday night, acquiring Marco Scutaro and cash from the Rockies for Triple-A infielder Charlie Culberson.
- Despite losing out to the division rival Angels for Zack Greinke, the Rangers are “not necessarily” turning their attention to the Rays’ James Shields or the Marlins’ Josh Johnson, a source told our own T.R. Sullivan.
- Shields and Johnson are the two premiere names left in the starting pitching market. Several teams, including the Rangers, Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals are rumored to hold interest in Shields. But the veteran right-hander insisted the situation hasn’t been a distraction and that he’d like to remain with Tampa Bay. The Marlins, meanwhile, are asking for a ton in exchange for Johnson.
- The Phillies probably aren’t ready to part with center fielder Shane Victorino just yet, but they are listening to offers, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
– Andrew Simon
- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez suffered a fractured left hand on Tuesday and could miss at least four weeks. That led to speculation the team would look to address the situation with a trade, but general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com that he isn’t targeting a deal for a third baseman. Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix will fill the hole instead.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Brewers have “officially become sellers.” That increases the likelihood of a trade involving ace pitcher Zack Greinke, who has drawn serious interest from several teams but hasn’t shown any in signing an extension with Milwaukee. The Brewers also could deal third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reliever Francisco Rodriguez, catcher George Kottaras and starter Randy Wolf.
- Not satisfied with pulling off a trade for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate late Tuesday night, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti still will look for a starting pitcher and another bat, according to our own Ken Gurnick. The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster remains the team’s prime target.
- Losing out on Ramirez didn’t end the A’s pursuit of an infielder, reported our own Jane Lee. The Blue Jays’ Yunel Escobar, the Padres’ Chase Headley and the D-backs’ Stephen Drew could be among the remaining possibilities.
- The Reds have “kicked the tires” on Twins center fielder Denard Span but are more likely to end up with the Phillies’ Shane Victorino or Juan Pierre, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.
– Andrew Simon
- The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster is said to be attracting a lot of trade interest. The Dodgers are one team that has proposed a deal for the veteran right-handed pitcher, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Cubs would like to add young pitching in return. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported that the two clubs were “having somewhat constructive conversations” about a deal by Thursday but that the Tigers and Braves figure to be among the other teams vying for Dempster.
- Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted that teams also are expressing interest in two other Cubs, infielder Jeff Baker and outfielder Reed Johnson, who could serve as right-handed bats off the bench.
- Rosenthal and colleague Jon Morosi also reported that the Pirates, Red Sox and Tigers are among the clubs pursuing D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew. The Pirates are still after Arizona outfielder Justin Upton as well, according to Morosi.
- The Tigers, Rangers and Pirates are a few of the teams that have asked the Rockies about second baseman Marco Scutaro, according to the Denver Post. With Colorado in last place in the NL West, the team also could deal relievers such as closer Rafael Betancourt, as well as catchers Ramon Hernandez and Wil Nieves.
- Teams interested in outfielder Carlos Quentin and closer Huston Street of the Padres might end up disappointed. San Diego plans to sign both players to long-term deals before the trade deadline, reported Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- The Twins will look to acquire pitching in exchange for surging lefty Francisco Liriano, wrote Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The Yankees, Mets, Angels, Braves, Blue Jays and Red Sox highlight the group looking into Liriano.
– Andrew Simon
- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale provided the splashiest rumor of the day, reporting that the Marlins had informed the Red Sox of their willingness to deal third baseman Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell, in exchange for left fielder Carl Crawford and a prospect. But ESPN’s Buster Olney later shot down that idea, tweeting that the proposal “immediately died.”
- According to our own Joe Frisaro, the Marlins are more likely to explore trading Ramirez during the offseason. Miami, scuffling below the .500 mark, still could look to move the likes of starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson or infielder Omar Infante below July 31.
- Three different scenarios remain in play for Brewers ace Zack Greinke, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reported at FOXSports.com. The 28-year-old could walk away as a free agent after the season. He could sign a long-term contract to remain in Milwaukee, although the report stated there is “no evidence,” that a formal offer has been made. Greinke also could be traded before the deadline, although he will start only twice more before then, following an extended break.
- Greinke, along with the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, is a prime deadline target for the Rangers, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Texas also could consider bringing back Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee.
- Several teams have looked into acquiring third baseman Chase Headley or outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Padres, but San Diego’s asking price for both has been “exorbitant,” reported CBSSports.com’s Scott Miller. The club also might attempt to re-sign Quentin this winter.
– Andrew Simon