Justin Upton is back on the block and Giancarlo Stanton could in fact be traded. That's some of the loudest trade buzz going on in MLB.
With pitchers and catchers set to report in six weeks, there are still teams with holes to fill and players with homes to find.
Any way you look at it, the baseball offseason is far from over.
Here's a look at the loudest trade buzz and free-agency updates for each team.
Is he or is he not on the block?
That's what baseball fans want to know about Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton.
After the signing of outfielder Cody Ross, it appears Upton could once again be up for trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
That means either Upton, the wunderkind who spends a lot of time on the trading block, Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra is likely to be dealt. And since it's not too likely that it'll be Parra, who the D-Backs want to keep for his defense, Upton is now one of two prime candidates to be traded.
While the Texas Rangers have been the team most linked to Upton, their unwillingness to part with Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar is looking to be the major hurdle.
All along, general manager Kevin Towers has suggested he'd trade Upton if he could get his future shortstop out of the deal, and while Towers already has acquired top shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius without surrendering Upton, there's a belief Towers would still trade Upton if Texas was willing to give up one of its two fine young shortstops, the proven Elvis Andrus or the superb prospect Jurickson Profar (though there's no indication the Rangers are about to relent on either of those two).
Arizona has some decisions to make in the next six weeks. There's no way the ballclub can go into spring training with Ross, Kubel, Parra and Upton. Or, could they?
Although it may not seem like the strong move fans were looking for, the Atlanta Braves are still in play for Scott Hairston.
Hairston may not be the outfielder the Braves were aiming for, but he could be looked at as a one-year stopgap. With Evan Gattis still likely a year away from the majors, Hairston could be that guy at the top of the lineup for one year.
Or, the Braves could bring back Michael Bourn on a one-year contract with a mutual agreement to not tender him a contract next year.
Joe Saunders could return to the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 after being traded from the Diamondbacks midseason.
Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com reports that the Orioles have remained in contact with the free agent.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette remains in contact with left-hander Joe Saunders' agent. Some members of the national media keep trying to link the Orioles to Kyle Lohse, but they don't give out big contracts to free-agent pitchers and they'd rather hold onto their first-round pick.
While there are still multiple in-house candidates who can fill that No. 5 spot in the bullpen, Saunders would be the best fit.
After all, manager Buck Showalter did have enough confidence in him to start the one-game playoff last season.
It looks as if the Boston Red Sox are now out of the mix for free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche.
amidst the spins, Red Sox not interested in three years and surrendering all the ramifications of draft pick on and for LaRoche— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 28, 2012
With the deal for Mike Napoli still up in the air, the Red Sox have to figure out first base, and quick.
While it's understandable the Sox don't want to give up their second-round pick for LaRoche, at some point they're going to have to make a move.
Boston fans aren't going to take another performance like the team gave them in 2012.
Although it's a little bit older of a rumor, it's still an interesting one.
#cubs are willing to pay about $26M of soriano's $36M if they get right prospect back. seems reasonable. 30/100 last yr— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2012
It seems the Chicago Cubs are looking to get rid of Alfonso Soriano any way possible as they're willing to pay all but $10 million left owed to him.
If that is true, multiple teams should be jumping at this as they're getting a decent hitter for $5 million a year.
The Chicago White Sox are showing interest in both Arizona outfielders believed to to be on the block.
White Sox have talked about Kubel. Also had talks about Upton earlier in winter, when Diamondbacks asked about Alexei Ramirez.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 22, 2012
The White Sox are in desperate need of offense in the outfield, and acquiring either Upton or Kubel will fill that role.
However, Upton is less likely since the White Sox don't seem to have the shortstop prospect they're seeking.
If Scott Rolen can accept a reduced role in 2013, he likely could find himself back with the Cincinnati Reds.
In an interview with Reds' general manager Walt Jocketty posted on mlb.com, Jocketty said he would happily welcome the free-agent third baseman back.
He's been so important to our success the last few years. He's been an instrumental part of our team and the clubhouse...If he wants to play, we have to see if we can work out something to his satisfaction as well as ours.
While he doesn't say exactly how the Reds could get Rolen back, Jocketty knows what kind of leader the third baseman is. By bringing him back, he could provide that veteran leadership the Reds need.
The Cleveland Indians could still use a good outfielder and leadoff hitter.
Enter Michael Bourn into the fray.
ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted out that Cleveland is among the destinations for the free-agent outfielder.
Michael Bourn's market includes: Sea, Cleve, Mia, Phil, NYM, TX— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 21, 2012
After a deal with Nick Swisher, the Indians have shown they have the money, especially with a new television contract that will pay them $400 million over 10 years (via Cleveland Plain-Dealer).
Now the Indians just have to ask themselves is if Bourn is worth giving up their second-round pick.
It seems Dexter Fowler may not be going anywhere after all this offseason.
Dexter Fowler told us on #SXM that Rockies GM Bill Geivett told him that it would take a lot in return for them to trade him to the Braves— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 20, 2012
If the Colorado Rockies are seeking a king's ransom, they're never going to improve with young talent.
Acquiring two prospects, including a good pitching prospect, isn't out of the question. But, if the Rockies continue to look for more than Fowler is worth, then they'll never get anything in return for him.
Once the most promising young starter in the minor league system, Rick Porcello now finds himself on the trading block for the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers seem to have a good rotation with Anibal Sanchez signed. So, why not get something in return for Porcello?
It definitely couldn't hurt.
The text came after (Jeff) Luhnow was asked about Jose Lopez telling reporters at a press conference in Venezuela he was closing to signing with the Astros. Lopez said he was flying to Houston on Wednesday, presumably for a physical.
While some fans were hopeful of the Astros signing Lopez, the move wouldn't make sense with the infield now set after the signing of Carlos Pena.
Jeff Francoeur and Luke Hochevar could both be on different teams next year.
However, the Kansas City Royals aren't going to let them going for nothing in return.
Understand many want @royals to dump Hochevar and Francoeur for whatever available. Either could be traded. Don't see either being dumped.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) December 24, 2012
Francoeur is a serviceable outfielder, with plus defensive skills, while Hochevar never seemed to fully develop.
Still, both could provide some team with a spark at some point in 2013.
While the Los Angeles Angels are still considering whether to trade outfielder Vernon Wells or not, there's some that feel the Angels should keep him.
According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Wells may not be worth $21 million per year, but he's worth something.
If the Angels wait until someone bites to take $3 million or $4 million, that's money that could make a difference. Of course, that opportunity might never happen. That's why Wells is still an Angel.
The other issue is what value Wells provides. He's not worth $21 million, but the Angels obviously feel he's worth something.
In two seasons with the Angels, Wells has a .686 OPS, including 36 homers. He is 34. Can they expect him to be any better?
So, if the Angels would be required to eat most of his salary anyway, then why not keep him on the bench? He's better than the other options the Angels would have coming off the bench.
Even after signing Zack Greinke, the Los Angeles Dodgers may not be done making a run at a starting pitcher.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe believes the Dodgers could be in on free-agent starter Kyle Lohse.
Even with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang slated for the back end of the rotation, Lohse would be a serious upgrade over the two.
And, with Los Angeles in the mood to spend a lot of money, Lohse would be a good candidate for them.
After trading away almost all of their best players, the Miami Marlins may have difficulty getting Giancarlo Stanton to sign long-term.
Stanton, who let it be known he wasn't happy about Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Josh Johnson and others being traded, is thought to be just biding his time until free agency.
According to Joe Frisaro of mlb.com, the Marlins are willing to listen to offers for Stanton.
Marlins assistant general manager Dan Jennings was a guest on the "Front Office" show, with hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette.
Jennings was asked if the Marlins would listen to offers for Stanton. Per company policy, the team does so on any player.
"Oh, I think that's been our [modus operandi]. I know in the 10 years I've been here, that's our M.O.," Jennings said. "We've never not listened to a deal on any player. Sometimes I chuckle when I hear people say, 'This guy's untouchable,' and 'That guy's untouchable.' You know what? They may be untouchable, until someone either overwhelms you or you get a package back that makes such a significant improvement on your club going forward. So we've always been willing to listen."
What ballclub wouldn't try to acquire Stanton after hearing this?
Unfortunately for most teams, they won't have the type of package the Marlins would be seeking.
Only teams with deep farm systems and a few top-level prospects they're willing to offer will be considered.
Even after adding three starting pitchers to the rotation this offseason, the Minnesota Twins still may not be done in that department.
However, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, there still could be moves made.
"I wouldn't say we're done," assistant General Manager Rob Antony said. "I wouldn't say were pushing hard. We have our feelers out there. If the situation is right, we could do something else. If not, we're O.K. too.''
Indications are that they are not going to hand out the two-year deal for $14-15 million that has become the rage this offseason (see Brandon McCarthy, Joe Blanton and Francisco Liriano). They will let Joe Saunders walk if that is the case. Same for Brett Myers and Shawn Marcum (there are health issues with Marcum too).
But if the offseason continues and the those pitchers remain unsigned, the Twins will take a harder look at them if they lower their demands. Despite having money to spend (they could open the season with a payroll in the low $80M range) they are not going to pay what they think is too much for average pitching.
The Twins are playing it smart. They're not desperate, but they're also not closing the books on any deals.
The Milwaukee Brewers reportedly have a deal with left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez.
The deal is worth $2.25 million, plus incentives, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden.
The move helps improve the Brewers' bullpen, which was an area of weakness in 2012 and something that needed addressing this offseason.
Could the New York Mets be making a play for outfielder Coco Crisp?
The Mets need help in a lot of areas and Crisp could address two of those with his leadoff and defensive abilities.
However, if the Mets have to give up top prospects for him, it's better for them to just move on.
Even with the signing of Matt Diaz, the New York Yankees are likely done looking for an outfielder.
Currently, the Yankees have three left-handed-hitting outfielders. There has to be a righty, at the very least, coming off the bench.
The Yankees have a lot of options out there, but in the end may stick with Diaz, who was successful against lefties in his time in Atlanta.
In truth, the Oakland Athletics are loaded with outfielders.
In an earlier slide, there was a tweet from Ken Davidoff about the Mets possibly being interested in Coco Crisp.
With Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Chris Young, Michael Taylor and Grant Green in the mix, Crisp would only be leaving a hole in the leadoff spot.
The A's seriously should consider trading one of their outfielders, even if it isn't Crisp. They could get a decent return.
The Phillies went from pennant contenders at the beginning of last year to cellar dwellers for 2013 due to their aging players and lack of an outfield.
While the Phils did acquire Ben Revere in a trade with the Twins, there are still issues that need to be addressed, and it seems the team thinks Hairston can be a part of the solution.
The Pittsburgh Pirates seemed to have made the most cost-effective move of the offseason by trading closer Joel Hanrahan, according to Fangraph's Eric Seidman.
Seidman believes that the Pirates could get the same production out of the new combo at the back end of the bullpen, but at a cheaper rate.
After re-signing (Jason) Grilli the Pirates had approximately $10 million being spent on their setup man and closer this season. By moving Hanrahan for (Mark) Melancon and taking a flier on Francisco Liriano, they may well be able to replicate the Hanrahan-Grilli tandem’s production at 30% of the cost while improving the rotation.
Any way you look at it, the Pirates got the good end of the deal as they also have the prospects to help them in the future.
While Saunders has had his share of struggles in the National League (3.96 ERA, 1.342 WHIP), playing in Petco Park would give the left-hander a big advantage.
San Diego struggled to keep its pitchers healthy last year. Adding Saunders, who has started at least 28 games in each of the last five years, would bring some needed depth.
Gillespie has never really gotten a chance to be an everyday player in MLB, but San Francisco could be that place where he does.
Outfield depth beyond the starters isn't the best, so if Gillespie impresses in Triple-A, he could see time in San Francisco as a fourth outfielder.
While there are no quotes saying the Dodgers are shopping outfielder Andre Ethier, multiple teams are still showing interest.
One of those is the Seattle Mariners, who are making a push to compete in the American League West this year.
still no real evidence andre ethier is being shopped, or even available. but #mariners are 1 team that could have interest.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 28, 2012
There's no hiding the fact that the Dodgers need a leadoff hitter. With Michael Bourn still available on the market, the only thing that's keeping him out of L.A. is Ethier.
So, what do the Dodgers do?
They did just re-sign Ethier to a contract extension, but trading him for good prospects would not only help them in the future, but also in the short term as they could then sign Bourn.
Adam Wainwright is searching for a big payday after this offseason, but the St. Louis Cardinals hope it doesn't get that far.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wainwright's value is only escalating and the Cardinals would be wise to go ahead and lock him up.
Before the winter meetings a club official said the two sides had not held “substantive” talks yet this offseason.
That spring-oriented timetable follows the one the Cardinals had for Yadier Molina this past year and Wainwright previously. The Cardinals agreed to a five-year, $75-million extension with Molina in March that kept him from becoming a free agent this winter. Back in March 2008, Wainwright and the Cardinals negotiated an extension that became his current six-year, $36-million deal.
The Cardinals made a mistake in not negotiating with Albert Pujols as much as possible before the start of the final year of his contract.
Let's hope they don't make the same mistake with Wainwright.
After a dominant bullpen in 2012, the Tampa Bay Rays expect the same in 2013.
However, there are still some moves to be made according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
(Rays executive VP Andrew) Friedman said they're still looking for one or two relievers, and he has a track record of acquiring quality arms for the bullpen, such as RHP Dan Wheeler in 2007, Troy Percival in 2008, Rafael Soriano and Joaquin Benoit in 2010 and Peralta and RHP Juan Cruz in 2011. If the Rays stay in-house, RHP Brandon Gomes could slide in...
Regardless, the Rays will make some kind of move to solidify the bullpen.
The Texas Rangers might not be making a run at Michael Bourn after all, even after Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels.
Thad Levine Rangers AGM just told us at #SXM that they are looking more at trades than free agency to improve their team at this point— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 23, 2012
So, that would seemingly knock out Bourn, who would've been a good fit in Texas, especially considering the Rangers need a center fielder.
However, the Rangers likely won't be able to acquire Justin Upton, either. As long as they hold tight to Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, Upton won't be coming to Arlington.
Garza, who hasn't had the greatest success in Chicago, is still an interesting candidate considering he's a power arm.
The two teams that have always had the most interest in Garza have been Texas and Toronto. Last July those were the two that were most interested before his injury. My sources and instincts would still be very interested in Garza if we was healthy in spring training. They could go as far as having private workouts for teams during the spring.
Toronto has already won the offseason with all the moves they've made.
However, if the Blue Jays acquire Garza, they immediately become the favorites to win it all.
The Washington Nationals continue to balk at giving Adam LaRoche the three-year deal he wants.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, LaRoche wants to re-sign with the Nationals, but is keeping his options open.
We’re talking to a few other teams,” LaRoche said Friday evening in a voicemail. “Got to keep things open in case Washington doesn’t work out. I’m still hopeful that it will, but as you know it takes two sides cooperating to make that happen. I’m doing everything I can.
After hitting 33 home runs and 100 RBI, it's strange that the Nationals are balking at a third year.
It's not like he's asking for a five- or six-year deal.
If the Nationals continue to mess around, LaRoche will end up somewhere else next season and they'll be left with Michael Morse to try to achieve LaRoche's production.