Latest Updates on the Markets for Justin Upton, Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn
The MLB hot stove has cooled considerably as we push ever closer to spring training, but a trio of names continue to dominate the headlines. Free agents Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn are by far the top remaining options on the market, while the Diamondbacks continue to shop right fielder Justin Upton.
Here is a quick look at the latest updates surrounding each of those names, as all three would become significant pieces for a team looking for something to push them over the top.
The 34-year-old Lohse spent last season as the Cardinals' ace after Chris Carpenter went down with an injury during spring training. He went on to have the best season of his career, going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA to finish seventh in NL Cy Young voting.
The Cardinals made him a qualifying offer to kick off the offseason, and he declined the $13.3 million deal to look for a multi-year contract on the free-agent market.
However, with draft pick compensation now tied to him, teams have been hesitant to sign Lohse so far this offseason.
In fact, according to an article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lohse has yet to receive a single offer so far this offseason.
The Rangers could be one potential landing spot after missing out on the likes of James Shields and Zack Greinke, and according to a tweet from Jim Bowden, newly signed Lance Berkman has recommended that the team sign his former teammate Lohse.
One of the most dynamic speed threats in all of baseball, Bourn has racked up 257 steals since becoming an everyday player back in 2008, leading the league in that category three times.
He's also a Gold Glove defender in center field and he hit a career-best nine home runs last season from the leadoff spot in the Braves lineup.
However, he doesn't have the on-base skills of a premiere leadoff hitter, with a .339 career on-base percentage and a ton of strikeouts (155 whiffs in 2012).
Like Lohse, Bourn turned down a qualifying offer early on in the offseason and as a result will cost a team their first-round pick to sign him. That has deterred the market.
The Rangers could also be in on Bourn as a potential replacement for Josh Hamilton in center field (h/t MLB.com) and a return to the Braves is not out of the question either (h/t David O'Brien via Twitter).
The Diamondbacks have one of the game's top young stars in Upton, and he looked ready to break out after a terrific 2011 season in which he hit .289 BA, 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB and finished fourth in NL MVP voting.
He took a step back last season though, as those numbers dropped to .280 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI and 18 SB in just nine fewer games.
He has been shopped at different times throughout his career, and this offseason the team appears to be stepping up their efforts to deal him. The team even signed Cody Ross as a free agent in what looked to be a precursor to moving Upton.
The Mariners reportedly offered up a steep package of Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor (h/t CBSSports), but the Mariners were one of four teams on Upton's no-trade list and he declined the deal.
According to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports, GM Kevin Towers won't lower his asking price to move Upton and the Mariners package should be viewed as the baseline for a package and not the ceiling.
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