The MLB Hot Stove practically exploded when Zack Greinke signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Josh Hamilton with the Los Angeles Angels, but there are still plenty of rumors for us fans to listen on as the offseason starts to wind down. Speedy outfielder Michael Bourn (pictured) has yet to sign with a team, and a good number of teams are supposedly active on the trade market.
The stove's temperature may be cooling down, but it's still incredibly hot to the touch.
Bourn is just a small part of what's going on in MLB land right now. One team may be looking to unload a heavy contract, while another is supposedly not taking any offers for an inconsistent outfielder.
No matter how you look at it, some of what we're hearing right now would just be too good to actually happen, but stranger things have certainly taken place before.
Last weekend, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that some thought the Yankees would indeed show "quiet" interest in Bourn, so long as the man's price tag came down. Earlier today, a source told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that there was "no chance" the Yankees would further increase their payroll and bring in the speedy outfielder.
This definitely makes more sense, as New York's outfield is currently set with Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki. Of course, to say that Bourn would not be a good fit in the Bronx would be highly untrue.
Look at it this way. Last season, Bourn made his second All-Star team and hit .274 while stealing 42 bases. He also had a career-high nine home runs and 57 RBI, both of which could increase in the lefty bat-friendly Yankee Stadium.
Signing Bourn would also potentially give the Yankees one of the fastest outfields in all of baseball. Of course, that happening hinges on something entirely different.
Earlier in the month, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York tweeted that Yankees GM Brian Cashman was listening to offers for Granderson, whose $15 million option was picked up after the World Series. The lefty-hitting center fielder hit 43 homers and had 106 RBI in 2012, but his batting average dipped 30 points down to .232. He also struck out a career-worst 195 times.
Throw in his diminishing defensive abilities, and it certainly would make sense for the Yankees to trade Granderson. His contract is up at the end of the season, and at age 31, there really isn't much reason to hang onto him in the long-term.
However, trading him is easier said than done. He is hit-or-miss on offense, and $15 million is a heavy price tag for any player.
Look, as a Yankees fan, I would absolutely love to see the man traded for some top prospects and maybe a good young pitcher. Unfortunately, I am also a realist, and the money involved would just not make sense for any team.
Speaking of money, how about the Angels and their putting Vernon Wells on the market? The team's signing Josh Hamilton makes Wells the odd man out, and according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, GM Jerry DiPoto has spoken to the Yankees about a deal involving the three-time All-Star.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also notes that the Philadelphia Phillies have inquired on Wells, though their top target appears to be free-agent Cody Ross.
Finding a taker for Wells would certainly be a dream come true for the Angels. Since coming to the team via a trade with the Blue Jays in 2011, he has hit just .222 with 36 home runs and 95 RBI, and his OBP has been an abysmal .258.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of finding a buyer for Wells is about the same as Manny Ramirez opening a cupcake stand right outside Fenway Park. Wells is 34 years old, his best years are behind him and he is owed $42 million over the next two seasons. The Angels would likely assume a portion of that, but it would be hard for any team to justify taking on the rest, regardless of how good Wells was in years past.
Don't get me wrong. The man deserves a fresh start as much as the next guy. Unfortunately, finding a trade partner just isn't the way to give it to him.
After a resurgent 2011 that saw him earn his first World Series ring, 2012 was a year to forget for Lance Berkman. Injuries limited him to just 32 games, and he hit just .259 with two homers and seven RBI.
He will turn 37 just before spring training begins and told Ken Rosenthal that he has considered retirement. However, there may just be one more stop on the Berkman Farewell Tour, and it could be with the team on which he became a star.
Rosenthal also reported that the Astros are interested in bringing Berkman back as a DH, even though they did just sign Carlos Peña to fill that role. Even if he isn't an everyday player, Berkman should strongly consider this possibility.
He spent the first 11-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Astros, smacking 326 home runs for them and helping them get to their sole World Series in 2005. Even if it is for just one game, he should return to Houston and give the fans a proper farewell.
Unfortunately, that is not up to us to decide. It would indeed be great to see Berkman finish his career with the Astros, but the idea of him doing so seems highly unlikely given his recent injury history.
Even though injuries limited him to 74 games and a disappointing 2012 season following an MVP-caliber 2012, the Boston Red Sox are not taking any offers on outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman. This somewhat makes sense, as Ellsbury is a free agent after next season, and the Red Sox would receive a draft pick as compensation if he were to sign with a new team.
I'll be blunt, ladies and gentlemen. I don't believe this rumor for one minute.
Draft picks are all well and good, but there is no guaranteed success from them. Those that do become stars are few and far between, and the Red Sox should instead look to trade Ellsbury for MLB-ready prospects and maybe some talent that has already reached the major league level.
Still not convinced? Well, earlier this month, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported that the Red Sox approached the Phillies about trading Ellsbury for pitcher Cliff Lee. The deal didn't happen, but to say that team management has given up on dealing the young outfielder after one reported rejection doesn't make much sense.
Sure, Red Sox fans would probably love to see Ellsbury in a Boston uniform for both next season and many more after that, but the team could get so many top prospects for him in a trade. In reality, he is worth more to Boston on another team than he is to the Red Sox organization itself, depending on the package.
The fact of the matter is that Ellsbury is destined to be traded. It may not be today, tomorrow or even this month. Call me crazy, but the man could very well be dealt sooner than we think, regardless of current reports.