MLB Rumors: The Loudest Trade Buzz, Free-Agency Updates for Every Team

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

MLB Rumors: The Loudest Trade Buzz, Free-Agency Updates for Every Team

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    Nashville, Tennessee is abuzz with baseball this week as the annual winter meetings are taking place.

    General managers, scouts, players and agents have all convened to talk shop, hopefully working out some deals along the way—or at least laying the groundwork for some that will be executed in the weeks and months between now and the beginning of spring training.

    The rumor mill is churning furiously, spitting out tidbits left and right about every team in baseball.

    Let's take a look at the latest rumblings surrounding your favorite team.

Oakland A's

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    Less than a month after acquiring him from the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the 12-player blockbuster deal that sent Jose Reyes to Toronto, the Miami Marlins are shopping shortstop Yunel Escobar—and the A's might be one of the teams in on him, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

    Sources: #Rays pursuing #Marlins’ Escobar to be everyday shortstop. #Athletics also could be in play.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2012

    Escobar, 30, has a career .282/.353/.390 batting line and is signed through the 2013 at a relative bargain of $5 million per season.

Los Angeles Angels

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    It's all about pitching for the Angels in Nashville, both in the starting rotation and bullpen.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the Halos, who have decided that Zack Greinke is simply too rich for their liking, have turned their gaze elsewhere in their pursuit of starting pitching:

    #angels, understanding price will be too rich for greinke, are looking at anibal and lohse.

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012

    Heyman earlier reported that Sanchez, 28, was seeking a six-year, $90 million deal, so it's unlikely that there's a fit between him and the Angels.

    Lohse, 34, isn't thought to be looking for nearly as much.

    As far as the bullpen goes, 30-year-old southpaw Sean Burnett has become a major target for the Angels, according to Aiden Gonzalez of MLB.com.

    Burnett spent the past four seasons with the Nationals, pitching to a 2.81 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, issuing 2.9 walks and striking out 7.7 batters per nine innings of work during that span.

Houston Astros

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    Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reports that one of the Astros young arms has become quite popular in Nashville:

    Teams are calling on Bud Norris, and the Astros are listening. Much of the interest depends on the cascade effect from Greinke signing.

    — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2012

    Norris, 27, went 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over 168.1 innings of work, averaging 3.5 BB/9 and 8.8 K/9.for the Astros in 2012.

    Under team control through the 2015 season, Norris had some of the most extreme home and away splits in the league last season.

    He was outstanding at Minute Maid Park, going 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 11 starts while getting shelled on the road, going 3-12 with a 6.94 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in 18 starts.

    Aside from Norris, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets that shortstop Jed Lowrie is generating interest:

    Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said he's getting offers for SS Jed Lowrie, but he's unlikely to be traded.

    — Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 3, 2012

    Lowrie, 28, was available last season as well when he hit a career-high 16 home runs in only 97 games.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Sitting with three starting-caliber catchers in J.P. Arencibia, Travis d'Arnaud and John Buck, it would make sense for the Blue Jays to move one of them for something, perhaps more pitching depth.

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that is exactly what the Blue Jays are looking do to, with the 26-year-old Arencibia the catcher that Toronto is most willing to unload.

    According to Rosenthal, Arencibia's name has previously been bought up in talks with the Mets about Jonathan Niese and the Rays about Wade Davis, though he alone wouldn't be enough to acquire either arm.

Atlanta Braves

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    After signing B.J. Upton and trading Tommy Hanson last week, things have been relatively quiet in Atlanta.

    GM Frank Wren has turned his attention to bolstering the team's bench, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien:

    #Braves Wren spent part of the day talking to agents of bench candidates. Believed to have offer out to bring back OF Reed Johnson.

    — David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) December 3, 2012

    As for potential trades on the horizon, Wren tells O'Brien that shortstop Andrelton Simmons is not available:

    I don’t think anybody is untouchable, but I think he would be…unreachable. Because he plays one of those skill positions in the middle of the diamond much better than your average bear. He’s a special player.

    The other thing is, we’ve seen him grow so much in the last two years, from the time we drafted him to rushing through the minor leagues and winning a batting title at the A-ball level. He just continues to get better and better. We may be just scratching the surface of how good he can be.

    While Simmons, along with pitchers Kris Medlen and Mike Minor are not available, prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado could be:

    “But] if we’re going to trade one of those guys it’s going to be a significant deal. And I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not."

    You would have to imagine that a "significant deal" would involve, among other things, the Braves getting either a long-term answer for left field or third base, allowing them to lock Martin Prado into one of the two spots.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    We've been hearing for quite some time that the Brewers could make a run at free-agent slugger Josh Hamilton, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says that the Brew Crew hasn't faded completely from the picture:

    #brewers do appeared to be involved at least to some degree with Josh Hamilton. #USBank

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012

    On the other hand, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says that the chances of the Brewers getting heavily involved with Hamilton or their former ace, 29-year-old Zack Greinke, is remote:

    #Brewers GM Doug Melvin on whether could get involved with Hamilton or Greinke: "No. It sounds like they're getting market value."

    — Tom (@Haudricourt) December 3, 2012

    Stranger things have happened, so we'll have to sit back and wait to see what, if anything, materializes in Nashville for the Brewers.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    With questions surrounding the health of Rafael Furcal at shortstop and a desire to upgrade second base, the Cardinals are investigating other options, according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler:

    Scutaro would be good fit for Cardinals, who met with his agent tonight. They want to get infielder, trade Schumaker

    — DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 4, 2012

    Scutaro, the World Series hero for the San Francisco Giants, is sure to have multiple suitors this winter. Whether the Cardinals are going to be willing to engage in a bidding war for the 37-year-old's services remains to be seen.

Chicago Cubs

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    According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Cubs have checked in on Marlins shortstop Yunel Escobar:

    #cubs, #athletics, #rays and #yankees have checked in on yunel escobar, who is available. #marlins

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 4, 2012

    It's a bit odd for the Cubs to have interest in the 30-year-old shortstop when you consider that they have Starlin Castro at shortstop and the slick-fielding Darwin Barney at second base.

    In an effort to bolster its bullpen, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine tweets that the team has an affinity for 36-year-old right-handed reliever Jason Grilli:

    Cubs talking to many agents about bullpen help .Former White Sox pitcher Jason Grilli on the list of relievers they like.

    — Bruce Levine (@ESPNBruceLevine) December 3, 2012

    Grilli spent the last two years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitching to a 2.76 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 91.1 innings of work, averaging 3.6 walks and 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings of work.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Diamondbacks are one of nine teams to have legitimate interest in 29-year-old right-handed starter Brandon McCarthy.

    McCarthy, who saw his 2012 season end prematurely after being hit in the head by a line drive, an injury that required emergency brain surgery (h/t ESPN), is said to be willing to accept a one-year contract so that he can prove he's fully recovered and re-establish his true market value.

    Thoughts of the Diamondbacks acquiring 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the Mets can probably be put to rest, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News:

    Sources: Diamondbacks met with Mets on Dickey, talks didn't get far. Mets price said to be very high.

    — Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 4, 2012

    As for a trade involving a certain Diamondbacks outfielder, you'd be surprised to learn (I know I was) that it's Jason Kubel, not Justin Upton, who the team has been engaging other teams about, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

    Why would Kubel potentially be more attractive to teams than Upton? Morosi writes:

    It’s possible that Kubel will draw interest from a larger number of teams than Upton, because his contract is smaller and asking price likely lower. Upton is due $38.5 million over the next three seasons, while Kubel is under contract for $7.5 million this year with a $7.5 million mutual option for 2014.

    Kubel is coming off a better offensive season than Upton, with an .833 OPS compared to .785 for Upton. But Upton is coveted for his overall skill set (an average of 23 home runs and 19 stolen bases over the past four seasons) and youth (25).

    It's unclear at this point what the Diamondbacks are looking for in exchange for Kubel, though you'd have to imagine that a long-term answer at either shortstop or third base tops the list.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is a busy, busy man this week, as he told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

    Colletti: "We're in on so many players that we may need 2 or 3 teams."

    — Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) December 3, 2012

    Shaikin's colleague at the Los Angeles Times, Dylan Hernandez, notes that Colletti might not be too far off from the truth:

    #Dodgers are talking to 10-12 teams about potential trades, GM Ned Colletti said.

    — Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) December 4, 2012

    One of those teams includes the Mets, who the Dodgers checked in with about 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.

    According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the team is open to moving speedy shortstop Dee Gordon:

    Source: #Dodgers only will trade Dee Gordon for significant return. Still view him as young player with big upside, stolen-base potential.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2012

    Yet it's free agent hurler Zack Greinke who remains the apple of their eye. As Hernandez notes, the Dodgers have met with his representatives, but the team has yet to make him a formal offer.

San Francisco Giants

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    CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly says that the Giants, while they continue to have conversations with playoff hero Marco Scutaro about a return, are investigating right-handed options to platoon with Gregor Blanco in left field.

    Baggarly mentions Reed Johnson, Andruw Jones, Ben Francisco and Scott Hairston as possible targets for the club.

    The good news for GM Brian Sabean, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, is that he's going to have more money to play with this winter than he has in the past:

    I'm told the #sfgiants payroll is going to the $140 million range, up from low 130s.

    — John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) December 4, 2012

    As for the bullpen, while the incredibly popular Brian Wilson was recently non-tendered and is a free agent, Baggarly tweets that it doesn't mean the bearded one's career in San Francisco is over:

    As of now, Bruce Bochy says Romo is his closer. But he plans on calling Brian Wilson soon to recruit him to return.

    — Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) December 4, 2012

    After his second Tommy John surgery, you have to wonder whether that beard has any magic left in it.

Cleveland Indians

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    There's no question that 27-year-old All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is available in a trade, but as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer writes, the Indians are not giving him away.

    The going price on the Indians' two-time All-Star is three to four players, preferably four. The Indians had the framework of a deal in place in which they would have received one big-league pitcher and two high-level prospects. When the Indians asked for a third prospect, the deal dissolved.

    The particular team the Indians were negotiating with planned to change Cabrera's position, but right now he's the top shortstop available this winter through free agency or trades.

    "He's the best guy out there at that position," said one scout. "They're going to get something good for him, but they're asking for a lot."

    Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, closer Chris Perez and starting pitchers Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez are all on the block as well, according to Hoynes, who says that the Padres have engaged the Tribe regarding their two starting pitchers.

    Said Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti (h/t Cleveland Plain Dealer): "We'd consider anything if it's the right deal. It all depends on what we get back."

Seattle Mariners

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    Josh Hamilton to the Mariners might not be as crazy as some once believed.

    The biggest slugger on the free-agent market met with the Mariners on Sunday, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, and unlike two weeks ago, when GM Jack Zdurencik poo-pooed the idea of Hamilton landing in Seattle, he was tight-lipped about how their meeting went.

    Hamilton isn't the team's only target at the winter meetings, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:

    Mariners/dbacks met tonite. upton on menu. Could ss nick franklin and rhp taijuan walker entuce?

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 4, 2012

    Should either of those options not materialize, the Mariners also have backup plans, according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler and ESPN 710AM's Mike Salk:

    Yes, Mariners interested in Hamilton. On much lower level, also interested in Brennan Boesch.

    — DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 4, 2012

     

    Like Jason Bay? A good source tells me to watch that name for Mariners. Low risk, high upside OF option. Good chance of happening.

    — Mike Salk (@BrockandSalk) December 4, 2012

    With talk of Hamilton and Upton, Boesch and/or Bay would be a major letdown for Mariners fans, though it should be seen as an encouraging sign that they are focused on upgrading their offense.

Miami Marlins

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    Giancarlo Stanton isn't the only member of the Miami Marlins who was upset about the 12-player deal they pulled off with the Toronto Blue Jays last month.

    According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, 29-year-old right-hander Ricky Nolasco wants out of Miami, per his agent, Matt Sosnick:

    Ricky and I have spoken a lot since the end of the season. Just watching the way the offseason has transpired for the Marlins and the moves they've made, he and I agree that he would probably be better served playing somewhere else. If he had his druthers, he would pitch for somebody other than the Marlins in 2013 and beyond.

    As for Stanton, he's still not happy with the way things are going, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman:

    Agent joel wolfe says giancarlo feels "same" since unhappy tweet after trade. "It wasn't a reaction, it's a state of mind."

    — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2012

    One of the players that Miami acquired from Toronto, 30-year-old shortstop Yunel Escobar, is being shopped heavily by the Marlins. According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, at least four teams are seriously interested:

    On other hand, #Marlins clearly would like to move Yunel Escobar. I count 4 teams definitely in on him: #Rays, #A's, #Yankees & #Cubs

    — Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 4, 2012

    The Hot Stove League is heating up once again in South Beach.

New York Mets

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    The Mets met with as many as eight teams to discuss potential deals for R.A. Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, according to Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald of ESPN New York.

    The Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are all thought to be included in those eight teams. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that the Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are in the mix as well.

    Mike Puma of the New York Post caught up with Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who clarified what he would be looking for should the team decide to move Dickey:

    Are we punting 2013? Absolutely not. This is not about making a trade for four players from the Appalachian League. Our goal, you have to balance the quality of the player with the potential arrival date of the player, obviously, so that’s something we’re trying to do.

    What we’ve tried to say to ourselves is we have to get back a difference maker. It doesn’t have to be a catcher, it doesn’t have to be an outfielder, it doesn’t have to be anything. But it has to be a difference maker, because R.A. is a difference maker.

    Andy Martino of the New York Daily News chimes in on the thought that the Mets are asking for a lot in exchange for Dickey:

    Hi, I know it's late. Here's a Mets person on rivals' notion asking price for Dickey very high."It should be.He won the Cy Young." Indeed.

    — Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 4, 2012

    He's got a point.

Washington Nationals

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    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that the Nationals are checking in with the Mets about R.A. Dickey, though you'd have to think that it's highly unlikely that the two division rivals would pull off a deal with each other.

    Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi tweets that Nationals 1B/OF Mike Morse is a definite target of the Baltimore Orioles:

    #Orioles have interest in #Nats LF/1B Mike Morse, source says. Like the positional flexibility. @mlbonfox

    — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2012

    Morosi also tweets that the Seattle Mariners have interest in bringing Morse back into the fold in the Emerald City:

    Mariners open to a reunion with Mike Morse, source says. Morse could be dealt if LaRoche re-signs.

    — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 3, 2012

    As Morosi notes, any move involving Morse remains contingent on the Nationals being able to re-sign incumbent 1B Adam LaRoche.

    According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, the biggest obstacle in negotiations between LaRoche and the Nats is the team's unwillingness to give him a three-year deal, though at this point, it doesn't appear that anyone else is willing to go three years on the veteran 1B either.

Baltimore Orioles

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    One thing the Orioles aren't doing is resting on their laurels after making the playoffs for the first time in 15 years in 2012.

    They are in on R.A. Dickey, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Baltimore has interest in former Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche and current Nationals 1B/OF Mike Morse, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

    Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun says that not only are the Orioles looking to add a power bat to their lineup, but that they have the pieces to make a deal happen—though it should be noted that Kansas City 1B/DH Billy Butler may cost more than the Orioles are willing to deal.

    As Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes, the Orioles and Royals don't match up well, as Kansas City is seeking a difference-maker in exchange for Butler:

    #Orioles and #Mariners show strong interest in #Royals DH Billy Butler. Could see Seattle as a fit; hard to see a match with Baltimore.

    — Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) December 3, 2012

    Orioles fans can rest assured that something significant is going to happen in Baltimore. It's just a matter of time.

San Diego Padres

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    The Padres are looking for starting pitching, and according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, they've started their holiday shopping in Cleveland.

    Both Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson interest the Padres, according to Hoynes, though it's unclear how far talks progressed between the two teams or what exactly Cleveland is looking for in exchange.

    Jimenez, 28, had his greatest success pitching in the National League West for the Colorado Rockies, going 56-45 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in parts of six seasons from 2006 to 2011.

    Masterson, 27, struggled in 2012, pitching to a 4.93 ERA and 1.45 WHIP a year after posting marks of 3.21 and 1.28, though it was his second consecutive year with more than 200 innings pitched.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    It's no secret that the Phillies needed outfield help, but it's gotten to the point where rival executives are using the "D" word to describe the team at the winter meetings, according to ESPN's Buster Olney:

    Team that's viewed as most desperate for outfield help by rival officials at these meetings: The Phillies.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 4, 2012

    So what does that mean for the Phillies?

    A reunion with Shane Victorino doesn't appear to be in the cards, and the team thinks that Michael Bourn's asking price is too high, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia, who says that GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. believes that free agency, not trade, is the way the team will land the outfielder it needs.

    Not so fast, says Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, who says that Rockies CF Dexter Fowler could be in play:

    Source: #Phillies have talked to #Rockies about Fowler. Rockies would want pitching back, for now and future.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2012

    What about Josh Hamilton, the biggest outfield name on the free-agent market?

    ESPN's Jayson Stark doesn't bring good news for Phillies fans who would like to see Hamilton hitting between Chase Utley and Ryan Howard next year:

    Keep hearing people speculate about Josh Hamilton to #Phillies. But if I had to pick a word to describe their interest, "wary" covers it.

    — Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 3, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Pirates fans shouldn't be expecting any major moves for the rest of the winter, as GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "In our minds, we’ve already made our big move with Russ."

    Based on Huntington's comments about the potential of moving closer Joel Hanrahan, it doesn't sound likely: "Probably last summer was the highest Joel's value was. As we were in competition, it was awfully tough to trade your closer. It's awfully tough to trade him now.

    Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Post-Review says that John Lannan is someone that Pirates are eyeing for a spot in their starting rotation, also mentioning Manny Parra, Mike Pelfrey, Jair Jurrjens and former Pirate Tom Gorzelanny as possible targets.



Texas Rangers

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    Per Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona, talks between the Rangers and Diamondbacks about right fielder Justin Upton continue:

    #Dbacks still talking to Texas about Upton, but source says there is "nothing there" at this time. Andrus, Profar still targets

    — Jack Magruder (@JackMagruder) December 3, 2012

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that the Rangers continue to insist that shortstops Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar are not available, preferring to build a deal around third baseman Mike Olt and starting pitcher Derek Holland.

    Rosenthal's partner-in-crime, Jon Paul Morosi, tweets that Olt is someone who is becoming a popular topic of discussion in Nashville:

    Keep an eye on Mike Olt at the winter meetings. One rival club official believes #Rangers are willing to trade him.

    — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 4, 2012

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman says that the Rangers are investigating what it would take to acquire R.A. Dickey from the Mets, and he also notes that Texas has been talking to Tampa Bay about one of their starters, most likely either James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson.

    As for Zack Greinke, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that those who believe the Rangers won't spend to bring the former AL Cy Young Award winner to Arlington are mistaken:

    Heard #Rangers right there with #Dodgers in willingness to spend on Greinke, #Nationals still talking #Angels all but fallen out at these $$

    — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 3, 2012

Tampa Bay Rays

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    While the Rays continue to look into bolstering their bullpen (Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi says the Rays are interested in free-agent reliever Mark Lowe), the onus continues to be on Tampa's plethora of starting pitching and which one of its starters will be playing elsewhere in 2013.

    The latest reports, according to CBS Spprts' Jon Heyman, are that there is no such thing as an untouchable when it comes to Tampa Bay's pitching staff.

    Jeremy Hellickson, James Shields, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, Wade Davis and even AL Cy Young Award winner David Price are all available in the right deal.

    Virtually every team in baseball has interest in at least one of them, so listing the teams individually would be foolish.

    Let's just say that much of what happens with free-agent starters like Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez, along with potential trades for players like R.A. Dickey, hinge on what Tampa Bay does with its contingent of arms.

Boston Red Sox

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    The Red Sox are definitely interested in R.A. Dickey, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald, though not at the asking price the Mets reportedly have.

    Sources tell the duo that the Mets asked Boston for Noutfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and shortstop Xander Boegarts in exchange for Dickey, a deal that Boston has no interest in making.

    Anibal Sanchez remains a target, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, though Sanchez is certainly one of the hottest names on the free-agent market, and the bidding for him is sure to be fast and furious.

    On the offensive front, CSN New England's Sean McAdam spoke with Boston GM Ben Cherington about pursuing free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher:

    It's a factor [in deciding whether or not to pursue Swisher]. But it's not the only factor. For the right guy, whether it's this offseason or another offseason . . . You factor that in, but it's not a roadblock. 

    We've done well in that area of the draft, the second round, so we don't take that lightly. [The second-round pick] still has value.

    I've said for quite some time that I thought Swisher would be a perfect fit for Boston, not only from an offensive standpoint, but from the influence he has in the clubhouse as well.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find one former teammate of his who had a bad thing to say about him.

Cincinnati Reds

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    The biggest news in Cincinnati these days surrounds one of its own free agents, 34-year-old outfielder Ryan Ludwick.

    Skipper Dusty Baker is hopeful that a deal can be reached as the team has extended an offer to him, per John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

    Baker: #Reds have offer out to Ludwick. "We hope he accepts it."

    — John Fay (@johnfayman) December 3, 2012

    In 125 games for Cincinnati in 2012, Ludwick posted a .275/.346/.531 batting line with 26 home runs and 80 RBI.

Colorado Rockies

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    While starting pitching is definitely something the Rockies need, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that isn't on the team's list of things to acquire during the winter meetings in Nashville:

    #Rockies searching for late-inning relievers/closer types, according to multiple sources. Story posting shortly on DPO

    — Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 3, 2012

    Current centerfielder Dexter Fowler is available in the right deal, and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the Phillies and Rockies have had discussions about a deal for their speedy 26-year-old:

    Source: #Phillies have talked to #Rockies about Fowler. Rockies would want pitching back, for now and future.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2012

    Personally, I don't see the point in moving Fowler, who broke out last season with a .300/.389/.474 batting line to go along with 13 home runs and 53 RBI, though if the pitching they are getting in return is legitimate front-of-the-rotation caliber, it would be easier to see them move a player just coming into his prime.

Kansas City Royals

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    It's all about starting pitching for the Royals, 

    Two weeks ago, we talked about how the Kansas City Royals are listening to offers on all of their young bats: first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, left fielder Alex Gordon, 1B/DH Billy Butler and even highly-touted outfield prospect Wil Myers in an attempt to acquire impact starting pitching (h/t Boston Herald).

    That hasn't changed.

    Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes that the Royals remain in on multiple trade fronts, including for the Mets' R.A. Dickey and Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields, dangling either Myers or Butler as the centerpiece of a deal.

    Talks with Baltimore and Seattle, two teams known to covet Butler, don't seem to have the impact pieces that can step in and help Kansas City compete this year.

Detroit Tigers

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    Detroit continues to insist that it has no interest in free-agent closer Rafael Soriano, apparently comfortable to give minor leaguer Bruce Rondon a shot to win the job in spring training.

    But as the New York Post's Joel Sherman points out, the talk of Soriano to Detroit won't end until he signs elsewhere:

    #Tigers people continue to insist not even talking about Rafael Soriano. Wild card is always Ilitch who was great relationship with Boras

    — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 3, 2012

    In regards to the starting rotation, the Tigers continue to have a dialogue with Anibal Sanchez' representatives. As MLB'com's Jason Beck tweets, earlier reports that the Tigers made the 28-year-old an offer seem to have been premature:

    #Tigers still talking with agent for Anibal Sanchez. Source says 4-yr, $48 million offer not accurate.

    — Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 3, 2012

    With the addition of Torii Hunter to their outfield, the Tigers are telling teams that their surplus outfielders are available in a deal, though it's not clear what exactly they want in return, according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler:

    No surprise, Tigers telling teams Brennan Boesch, Andy Oliver available in trade

    — DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 3, 2012

Minnesota Twins

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    John Lannan and Brett Myers appear to be two pitchers that the Twins have significant interest in, according to Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500.

    Lannan, 28, spent most of 2012 in Triple-A, exiled there by the Nationals, who had no room for him in their starting rotation.

    Over his six-year career, Lannan has pitched to a 4.01 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and averaged 3.4 walks and 4.7 strikeouts per nine innings of work.

    Myers, 32, is a former starter who pitched out of the bullpen for both Houston and Chicago (AL) in 2012, finishing the year with a 3.31 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 5.6 batters per nine innings of work.

    In another piece, Mackey says that the team is closing in on adding a player to compete with Trevor Plouffe at third base in spring training, though the identity of said player remains a mystery.

Chicago White sox

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    There could be some comings and goings as it pertains to the White Sox starting rotation.

    Multiple teams still have interest in White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd, per Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald:

    Source on whether #WhiteSox will trade RHP Gavin Floyd: "He's always floating out there." Interest high w/one year, $9.5M left on contract

    — Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) December 4, 2012

    Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle names the White Sox as one of a number of teams who are going hard after 29-year-old righty Brandon McCarthy, who spent the past two years with the Oakland A's pitching to a 3.29 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 43 starts.

    At the other end of the battery spectrum, longtime White Sox catcher and current free agent A.J. Pierzynski remains a target for the White Sox, according to the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzalez, though it should be noted that GM Rick Hahn is not worried if the fan favorite signs elsewhere:

    We aren’t there yet and we are still exploring other options, including A.J..However, if, in fact we wind up with Tyler (Flowers) as the opening day catcher, we think that we will not lose anything defensively and we have a good young hitter capable of hitting for power and getting on base fairly regularly, at a fairly healthy clip. It’s nice to have that option to fall back on.

    Flowers, long considered to be the team's catcher of the future, has yet to prove that he can hit major league pitching on a regular basis, posting a .205/.307/.388 batting line over 317 major league plate appearances.

New York Yankees

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    The Yankees are officially open for business, and slugging centerfielder Curtis Granderson is available, according to ESPN's Buster Olney:

    NYY have been open to talks about Curtis Granderson. If they move his $15m salary, it would provide more flexibility to do other things.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 4, 2012

    Depending on who you ask, the Yankees may or may not be in on Marlins infielder Yunel Escobar.

    ESPN's Jayson Stark says they are, while his colleague Buster Olney says no.

    With Derek Jeter recovering from a broken ankle and Alex Rodriguez, it makes sense that the team is targeting another infielder, though it should be noted that Escobar has played a total of 22 games at third base over his six-year career.

    Along that line of thinking, it makes sense that the Yankees have interest in Marco Scutaro as well, which, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, they do.