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Potential Rays, Padres deal reportedly waiting on Nationals

The potential trade between the Rays and Padres involving Wil Myers seems to be down to two potential scenarios, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

There is apparently one scenario that involves the Nationals joining the mix and one scenario that would be a straight-up deal between the Rays and Padres. Either way, Tampa Bay would be sending Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan and two lower-lever Minor Leaguers to San Diego in exchange for catcher Rene Rivera, right-hander Burch Smith and first baseman Jake Bauers. Bauers is the Padres’ No. 14-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, while Smith checks in at No. 16.

The alternate scenario apparently involves shortstop Trea Turner (San Diego’s No. 5 prospect) and right-hander Joe Ross (No. 8 prospect). If the Nats decide to join the trade, Topkin reports that those two players would be flipped to Washington in exchange for outfield prospect Steven Souza and a low-level Minor League left-hander. Conversely, Turner and Ross would apparently stay in Tampa Bay if the Nationals elect to stay out of the deal.

Turner would need to be listed as a player to be named later in any potential trade, due to the fact that he was just drafted this past year. The Padres selected Turner with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

There clearly remains a number of moving parts in this potential deal, but there should be some clarity provided as soon as the Nationals make a decision, presumably either Wednesday night or Thursday.

– Paul Casella

Romo set to return to Giants

Another relief pitcher is apparently off the market, with right-hander Sergio Romo reportedly agreeing to a two-year, $15 million deal to return to the Giants, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Despite losing his closer’s job early last season, Romo has decided to stay with the defending champs. He was removed from the closer’s role in the midst of racking up a 4.74 ERA over 40 first-half outings, but he bounced back to notch an impressive 1.80 ERA over 24 outings after the All-Star break.

The Giants are hoping Romo can build off that rediscovered success into 2015, albeit likely a setup role. Romo had also garnered interest from the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers, among others, before ultimately deciding to stay in San Francisco.

– Paul Casella

Rays reportedly working on multiple deals

The main rumor surrounding the Rays right now is obviously the potential trade that would send Wil Myers to the Padres — but that’s not all Tampa Bay has in the works.

Multiple reports on Wednesday have suggested that the Rays could flip at least one player they receive from San Diego to another team in a separate deal. The most popular rumor right now seems to be that the Rays, if they indeed trade Myers, are trying to work out a deal to acquire the Nationals’ Steven Souza as his replacement. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Joel Sherman of the New York Post, among numerous others, have each suggested this as a possibility.

Despite being ranked as the Nationals’ No. 5 overall prospect — and seemingly being Major League ready — Souza doesn’t have much of a place in Washington as long as the Nationals remain healthy. The trio of Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth are locked in as the Nats’ starting outfielders.

That makes the 25-year-old Souza somewhat expendable, for the right price. He spent the majority of last season with Triple-A Syracuse, where he hit a staggering .350/.432/.590 to go along with 18 home runs, 75 RBIs and 26 stolen bases.

Any potential deal between the Rays and Nats obviously hinges on the Rays first completing their rumored deal with the Padres to clear a spot for Souza. If they do ultimately work out their first deal, they can focus their sights entirely on negotiating a deal for Souza, though it’s unclear at this point what they would possibly send to the Nats in return.

– Paul Casella

Mariners acquire Ruggiano from Cubs

The Mariners reached a deal on Wednesday to acquire outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs in exchange for Minor League reliever Matt Brazis.

Ruggiano hit a respectable .281/.337/.429 for the Cubs last season, though he was limited to just 81 games by various injuries. He missed time early in the season due to a left hamstring issue before later suffering a left ankle injury that ultimately ended his season on Aug. 22.

Ruggiano should at least provide further outfield depth for the Mariners, who have also been linked to the Phillies’ Marlon Byrd and Washington’s Ian Desmond in recent days. The move to acquire Ruggiano could quiet any talks involving Byrd, but the Mariners could still be interested in adding another solid hitter, such as Desmond.

– Paul Casella

Red Sox acquire Varvaro from Braves

The Braves traded right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro to the Red Sox on Wednesday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations.

Varvaro, who compiled a 2.74 ERA in 123 appearances over the last two seasons, was somewhat surprisingly designated for assignment earlier this week to clear a spot for recently acquired infielder Alberto Callaspo. The hard-throwing righty also racked up 50 strikeouts over 54 2/3 innings this past season.

As for Kurcz, the 24-year-old tallied a 2.14 ERA in 34 appearances this past season for Double-A Portland, while striking out 54 batters over 42 innings.

Given that there was almost zero chance Varvaro was going to pass through waivers unclaimed after being designated earlier this week, it was only a matter of when, not if, the Braves were going to work out a trade inolving the 30-year-old reliever.

– Paul Casella

Potential Myers deal getting close?

A potential blockbuster deal between the Padres and Rays involving 24-year-old outfielder Wil Myers could be “nearing the finish line,” according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

Rumors broke late Tuesday night that the two sides were discussing a possible trade that would send Myers to San Diego, though the potential return package remains unclear. Though little is known at this point about what the Padres might be offering in return, it’s a safe bet that it would involve either top pitching prospect, Matthew Wisler, or right-hander Joe Ross, the club’s No. 8-ranked overall prospect according to MLB.com.

While some reports have suggested a third team could enter the mix to make the deal happen, Crasnick adds that he believes it would be a straight-up deal between the Padres and Rays, with Tampa Bay possibly then flipping one of the players it receives from San Diego in a separate deal.

Despite coming off a disappointing, injury-hampered 2014 campaign, Myers is still just 24 years old and remains under team control through the 2019 season. He’s also only one season removed from posting a .293/.354/.478 batting line en route to being named the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year.

Even after acquiring Matt Kemp from the Dodgers last week, the Padres have continued to explore other options for upgrading what was the league’s worst offense this past season. Pairing Myers alongside Kemp would seem to be a substantial upgrade for the Padres, though it will certainly take a significant haul to make this deal happen.

– Paul Casella

Mariners possibly inquiring about Desmond

The Mariners reportedly “remain a possibility” as a potential landing spot for Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.

Seattle is known to be looking to add more offense this offseason and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported late Tuesday night that he was “hearing rumblings” that the M’s were “closing in on” a trade for another hitter. Crasnick had no other details at the time and it’s unclear whether or not that potential trade he was referencing involved Desmond.

The Mariners have been linked to a number of shortstop rumors this offseason, though those reports mostly involved the club moving one of its own — not bringing in another one. They currently have Brad Miller and Chris Taylor set to battle for the Opening Day job, though Desmond would certainly seem to represent an upgrage over either option.

As for the Nationals, they could be willing to move Desmond this offseason instead of risking losing him to free agency next offseason. He’s owed $11 million next season and, more importantly, he and the Nats haven’t made much progress in their extension talks this offseason.

This appears to be nothing more than speculation at this point, but the potential is certainly there for talks to develop further.

– Paul Casella

Lowrie returning to Astros

The Astros continued their busy offseason on Monday, signing shortstop/infielder Jed Lowrie to a three-year deal through 2017, with a club option for 2018.

Though primarily a shorstop over his first big league seasons, Lowrie expressed a willingness this offseason to also play either second or third base, if needed. He projects to be the Astros’ starting shortstop in 2015, though he could be called upon to make occassional appearances at third base.

The Marlins and Giants had been previously linked to Lowrie at various points this offseason.

Instead, Lowrie chose to return to Houston where he hit a career-best 16 home runs during his lone season with the Astros in 2012. He hit a career-best .290 the following season with the A’s before struggling to a .249/.321/.355 batting line with six home runs and 50 RBIs this past season in Oakland.

– Paul Casella

Headley reportedly signing with Yankees

Third baseman Chase Headley has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Yankees, pending a physical, according to multiple industry reports.

Headley was reportedly choosing between the Yanks, Giants, Marlins and Astros this offseason, with New York and San Francisco long considered the two frontrunners. Headley certainly helps fill a need for the Yankees, as utility man Martin Prado is now free to play elsewhere and the club can focus on bringing back Alex Rodriguez as the designated hitter.

It’s been a disappointing offseason thus far for the Giants, meanwhile, as Headley becomes the club’s latest target to ultimately sign elsewhere. The Giants lost third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the Red Sox earlier this offseason, while marquee starter Jon Lester — the next name on San Francisco’s wish list — chose to sign with the Cubs last week.

– Paul Casella

Mariners considering internal, external options for RF

After missing out on their main target in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, the Mariners are now considering a number of alternatives — both on the trade market and within the organization — to fill their void in right field, according to MLB.com’s Greg Johns.

It’s not clear at this point exactly how the Mariners rank the remaining free agents or potential trade targets, but Johns reports that there is still a plethora of options to be considered. For starters, the list of remaining free agent outfielders includes right-handers Alex Rios, Michael Morse, Chris Denorfia, Jonny Gomes and Delmon Young, as well as left-handers Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus, Ichiro Suzuki and Endy Chavez.

Morse, Denorfia, Suzuki and Chavez have all spent time with the Mariners in previous years, including this past season when Denorfia and Chavez primarily covered right-field duties after the All-Star break with Michael Saunders injured. Saunders, of course, was traded to the Blue Jays earlier this offseason in exchange for left-hander J.A. Happ.

Given the lack of options remaining in free agency, it’s more likely that the Mariners will look to fill their need via the trade market. Braves outfielder Justin Upton remains one of the top players being shopped around, though Seattle is firmly against parting with young right-hander Taijuan Walker in exchange for a player entering the final year of his contract, such as Upton.

Aside from Upton, outfielders known to at least be available via trade include Gerardo Parra of the Brewers, Seth Smith of the Padres, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, David Murphy of the Indians, Travis Snider of the Pirates, Drew Stubbs of the Rockies and Marlon Byrd of the Phillies. The Red Sox could still move another outfielder even after trading away Yoenis Cespedes last week, meaning Seattle could try to make a play for the likes of Daniel NavaAllen Craig or Shane Victorino.

As for in-house options, the Mariners could turn to either Nelson Cruz or Logan Morrison for the right field job, though Cruz was signed with the intention of using him as a designated hitter and Morrison is viewed as more of a first baseman. That leaves James Jones and Stefen Romero, each coming off respectable rookie campaigns this past season.

All things considered, the Mariners would ultimately prefer to keep Cruz and Morrison in their expected roles, while bringing in a more established player to man right field for the time being. With Cabrera off the board, the Mariners are leaving no stone unturned as they seek an alternative, but nothing seems imminent at this time.

– Paul Casella

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