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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

Ruggiano to Mariners – UPDATE

The Cubs dealt outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Mariners Wednesday for Minor League pitcher Matt Brazis, opening a spot on the 40-man roster. Ruggiano, 32, batted .281 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 81 games for the Cubs last season, but missed time because of a left hamstring injury suffered in late April. His season ended on Aug. 22 when he fractured his left ankle.

Brazis, 25, is 8-6 with 14 saves and a 2.89 ERA in 100 Minor League relief appearances over three seasons for the Mariners. He split last season between Class A High Desert and Double-A Jackson, going 4-1 with six saves and a 2.36 ERA in 40 appearances. Brazis struck out 84 batters and walked 18 in 72 1/3 innings pitched.

The Cubs do want to add a veteran outfielder, but were looking for players with more experience to be what manager Joe Maddon calls “clubhouse dudes” and help mentor the young guys.

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown first reported the possible trade on Wednesday.

– Carrie Muskat

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

Justin Ruggiano rumors

According to Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, the Cubs and Mariners have had conversations about Justin Ruggiano. The outfielder batted .281 in 81 games with the Cubs. His season ended Aug. 22 when he injured his left ankle. Ruggiano also missed time in late April and early May because of a left hamstring injury. The right-handed hitter has a career slash line of .257/.319/.431. The Cubs’ 40-man roster is full after the additions of Jason Hammel and Jon Lester, so the team will have to make some decisions if they are to find room for the so-called “clubhouse dudes” that manager Joe Maddon wants to add.

– Carrie Muskat

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

Marlins hearing about 1B Jones

With the Marlins set to announce the signing of slugger Michael Morse, MLB.com‘s Joe Frisaro is reporting that the team is now getting calls on first baseman Garrett Jones.

Morse has been primarily an outfielder for his career, but spent significant time at first base last season in San Francisco and figures to be at least a platoon player there, if not the full-time first baseman for the Marlins.

Frisaro also said that “Miami may decide to keep Jones, and use him as a left-handed bat off the bench, either at first base or in right field.” But the Marlins have Justin Bour as a cheaper lefty first base bench option, and Jones “most likely” will be dealt.

– Joey Nowak

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