Justin Upton's name was all over the rumor mill this offseason.
The Major League Baseball rumor mill has been out of control this offseason.
Over the last few months, reports have flown across the baseball world and the Internet with the latest information on what could end up happening.
About 90 percent of rumors turn out to be completely false. The remaining 10 percent of rumors turn out to be somewhat truthful, but only around five percent of them lead to players getting traded or signing new contracts.
This winter could not have been more exciting, with all of the “random” rumors that were reported by some of the industry’s best journalists. With such a star-studded free agent class and several players on the trade block, it was bound to be a crazy offseason.
Countless moves have shaken up the game this offseason, but let’s turn our attention to the moves that didn’t happen, but were rumored to be possible.
Here are the 50 biggest rumors from this offseason that never happened.
*For rumors not mentioned that you feel deserve to be on the list, please place them in the comments section below.*
Ryan Zimmerman has been the everyday third baseman for the Washington Nationals for a while now. But with top prospect Anthony Rendon expected to reach "the Bigs" sometime in the next two seasons, some shifting may be necessary.
MLB.com’s Bill Ladson responded to a mailbag question saying that it’s too early to tell, but Washington could end up moving Zimmerman across the diamond if Rendon stays healthy in the near future.
For now, though, Zimmerman will stay at third base, and the Nationals recently re-signed Adam LaRoche to play first base for the next two seasons as well. After that, however, maybe Washington will decide to move Zimmerman across the diamond in favor of Rendon.
The Texas Rangers have a bit of a logjam in the middle of their infield. Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler have been double play partners for a while now, but that could change very soon with top prospect Jurickson Profar ready to play for Texas on a daily basis.
Profar, a shortstop, would need to take either Andrus’ or Kinsler’s spot. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that Kinsler would likely move to first base in favor of Profar.
Rosenthal reports that Kinsler would prefer to stay at second base, but will play wherever the Rangers need him to. Other options could include moving Andrus or Profar to the outfield, but Kinsler moving to first seems more likely.
One of the first moves that the Los Angeles Dodgers made this winter was signing Brandon League to a three-year deal, expecting that he’d be the team’s closer. But that didn’t stop the Dodgers from looking at other options.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reported that Los Angeles was “kicking the tires” internally on Joel Hanrahan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hanrahan had been successful the last two seasons in the NL Central and the Dodgers thought adding him to their bullpen wouldn’t hurt.
A deal sending Hanrahan never happened, though, as the Pirates shipped him off to the Boston Red Sox instead. Needless to say, the Dodgers would have really improved their bullpen by acquiring him.
With so many teams needing first basemen this season and a lack of talent on the free agent market, many teams looked to trade for someone to improve their status at the position.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that since several teams were looking to make a trade, the Minnesota Twins could be intrigued to trade slugger Justin Morneau. Cafardo said that if the Twins could get some good young players, a trade wouldn’t be out of the question.
To this point, though, the Twins are hanging onto Morneau. Minnesota already traded two stars in Denard Span and Ben Revere this offseason. Dealing Morneau might be a sign to season ticket holders to not even bother showing up in 2013.
With the impending loss of Zack Greinke via free agency, the Los Angeles Angels needed to find someone with similar skills to take his place in their rotation.
Brandon McCarthy was one starter that come up in discussions and Los Angeles’ interest in the right-hander picked up during the Winter Meetings, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Either McCarthy didn’t want to play for the Angels or the Angels’ offer wasn’t good enough, since he later signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Los Angeles did, however, make other improvements to its starting rotation.
With an overload of outfielders after the addition of Denard Span and with the re-signing of Adam LaRoche to play first base, Michael Morse was without a spot in the Washington Nationals’ starting lineup.
The Nationals were shopping Morse around and the New York Yankees were one of the teams showing interest, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York. The Yankees could have used the power in the lineup and the help in the outfield.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Morse was traded to the Seattle Mariners instead. Now, the Yankees will go into spring training with Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Curtis Granderson as their three starting outfielders.
While the Boston Red Sox continued to finalize a deal that would make Mike Napoli their everyday first baseman, they looked for other options. The Red Sox had Mauro Gomez on the roster, but he didn’t seem like a solution to the problem.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported in a mailbag that the Red Sox were looking into trading for Seattle Mariners’ first baseman Justin Smoak.
Boston eventually worked out a deal to sign Napoli and Smoak has been sitting tight in Seattle. The Mariners did acquire Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse this offseason, so Smoak could still be on the move, but for now, it won’t be to Boston.
Rafael Soriano required more than just the price tag of his contract this offseason. Signing him would require the team that landed him to forfeit its first-round draft pick next season as well. Apparently, that didn’t phase the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported that the Dodgers were in the mix for Soriano before he signed with the Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers had already signed Brandon League earlier in the offseason, but had still been looking improve the bullpen. Soriano had been looking to be a closer instead of a setup man, which would have been interesting if he had signed with the Dodgers.
The Texas Rangers were looking to add depth to their starting rotation this offseason and were in contention to land a lot of the bigger names on the market. Apparently Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison weren’t enough.
But Texas was eliminated early in the postseason so adding an arm wasn’t a crazy idea, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Rangers had interest in Edwin Jackson, one of the most sought after starting pitchers in this winter’s free agent class.
The Rangers whiffed on Jackson as he went on to sign with the Chicago Cubs. Texas has yet to add another starter to its rotation and may be all set going into spring training.
One of the hardest things this winter for agents was negotiating deals for players who had declined qualifying offers. One of those players happened to be Rafael Soriano, and his agent is the industry’s “best” in Scott Boras.
A team that Boras was trying to get interested in the right-hander was the Detroit Tigers, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Boras felt that Detroit hadn’t put together the best team possible yet, implying that signing Soriano would help them do so.
But Detroit seems sold on young reliever Bruce Rendon, who is expected to be the closer next season. Even if he isn’t the closer, it won’t be Soriano either, as he signed with the Washington Nationals.
The Boston Red Sox came into the winter with two open outfield spots and needing a first baseman. Boston filled the two outfield spots and had initially agreed to a three-year deal with Mike Napoli.
But as time went on without officially announcing the signing—due to an unexpected hip problem—it seemed less and less likely that a deal for Napoli would ever really happen. While Boston continued to negotiate, they looked into Michael Morse of the Washington Nationals, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Abraham reported that the price tag was fairly steep for Boston, which is why they didn’t pull the trigger on a deal. Boston would have used Morse as the everyday first baseman while having the ability to play him in left field with Jonny Gomes as well.
Before the Boston Red Sox signed two outfielders—Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino—there were several players in the mix to fill those voids. One of the players discussed just happened to be the top available free agent.
Boston had interest in signing Josh Hamilton, but with a three-year maximum, according to WEEI. Hamilton had been rumored to want more than three years, which is why talks slowed down and the Red Sox went in a different direction.
Hamilton did get more than three years in the end. He signed a five-year monster deal with the Los Angeles Angels, improving an already talented squad. Taking a big risk on a big name player didn’t seem to be in the works for the Red Sox this winter.
Curtis Granderson has emerged as one of the best players in baseball over the last couple of seasons, showing off a lot of power. That power has been an attractive feature to many other teams in the league.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Yankees had been negotiating trades that included Granderson. Although Olney reported that it’s “standard operating procedure,” the Yankees didn’t definitely say no when Granderson’s name came up in discussion.
The Yankees haven’t traded Granderson, but it wouldn’t be ridiculous to do so. He’s in the final year of his deal and it’s not guaranteed that he’ll come back past this season. Trading him while his value is high would be a smart move for New York, but it would be just as smart to hang onto him.
The San Diego Padres need a lot of talent in order to compete in the National League West—talent which they didn’t necessarily have a lot of coming into the offseason.
But they were trying to change that in free agency.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reported that San Diego was working on a three-year deal for free agent starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Jackson would have joined the likes of Edinson Volquez atop the Padres’ starting rotation, giving them two very good arms.
Unfortunately for the Padres, they couldn’t finalize the deal for Jackson and he decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs instead. San Diego hasn’t really done much after losing out on the right-handed free agent.
The Washington Nationals have one of the best starting rotations in the game, but that didn’t stop them from seeking additional help this offseason. Edwin Jackson was a free agent and his departure opened up a spot in the rotation.
James Wagner of The Washington Post reported that Zack Greinke had been linked to the Nationals in the past. Wagner reported that the price tag would be high and that the money could be better spent to extend players such as Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman.
The Nationals refrained from digging deep in their pockets and, instead, watched the Los Angeles Dodgers dish out a huge contract to Greinke. Washington then signed Dan Haren to fill the void left by Jackson.
While the New York Mets had troubles extending R.A. Dickey, they looked into trading him away. Dickey had just won the National League Cy Young Award and the Mets were trying to cash in on his recent success.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported that although the Toronto Blue Jays were believed to be favorites to land Dickey, the Texas Rangers had a great offer on the table as well. The Rangers were offering prospects Mike Olt and Cody Buckel in exchange for the right-hander.
Still, Texas was unsuccessful in its attempt to land the knuckleballer, as the Mets went in a different direction. The Rangers have held onto both Olt and Buckel through this point in the offseason, “refusing” to part with two of the organization’s best young talents.
Justin Upton was easily the biggest name on the trade block this winter and for good reason. He’s put up very good numbers through the first couple of seasons as a big leaguer and still has the potential to get better.
Upton’s qualities intrigued many teams, and the Tampa Bay Rays were one of the teams with the potential to land him, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal reported that the Rays could send the Arizona Diamondbacks a pitcher and shortstop.
The Rays did trade one of its top pitchers, James Shields, but it wasn’t to the Diamondbacks for Upton. Instead of trading for Upton, Tampa Bay traded for Wil Myers of the Kansas City Royals.
The Boston Red Sox had somewhat filled their holes with Shane Victorino in right field and Mike Napoli at first base—although the deal hadn’t been finalized just yet. But that didn’t stop Boston from thinking about adding another bat to its 25-man roster.
Boston had interest in signing free-agent first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher and that interest remained after the two signings, according to WEEI. Swisher would have given the Red Sox another big bat in the lineup and a versatile defender.
But Boston didn’t want to give up a draft pick connected with signing Swisher and have remained content with Victorino and Napoli thus far. Swisher went on to sign with the Cleveland Indians to play right field.
Adam LaRoche was easily the top free agent available at first base this offseason and was drawing interest from a couple of teams. LaRoche was coming off a career year with the Washington Nationals and was about to get paid for it.
With the Boston Red Sox needing a first baseman, they clearly looked LaRoche’s way. Jen Royle of SB Nation confirmed Boston’s interest in the left-handed hitter. But the three years he was seeking was a bit of an issue for the Red Sox.
Boston was content with giving LaRoche two years, but not three. The Red Sox went on to land Mike Napoli to play first base and LaRoche eventually took a two-year deal to return to the Nationals.
The Baltimore Orioles have one of the best young outfielders in the game, but they wanted to land another. Nick Markakis has battled injuries and Adam Jones can’t play all three outfield positions, hence the interest.
The outfielder Baltimore was interested in acquiring was Arizona Diamondbacks star Justin Upton, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal reported that Baltimore had stronger interest earlier in the winter and seemed focused more on pitching.
Although the Orioles didn’t add another pitcher, they didn’t get Upton either. Baltimore might not have been willing to part with top prospects and the Diamondbacks eventually dealt Upton the Atlanta Braves.
With the Boston Red Sox watching Jacoby Ellsbury enter the final year of his contract and with the Texas Rangers having a dilemma at shortstop, an interesting situation arose. Both teams could afford to make a trade or stay put.
Rob Bradford of WEEI reported that although a trade would have worked out for both sides, the Red Sox and Rangers would not swap Ellsbury and Elvis Andrus.
The Red Sox would have gotten a much-needed full-time shortstop whereas the Rangers would have acquired an outfielder to replace Josh Hamilton. Although the trade hasn’t happened yet, a similar deal during the season shouldn’t be out of the question—but it seems unlikely to this point.
With the New York Yankees losing Nick Swisher to free agency, they could have used a good replacement. Ichiro Suzuki is well past his prime and Brett Gardner isn’t the best overall outfielder. Curtis Granderson is also entering the final year of his contract.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that New York may have had slight interest in Michael Bourn, although it was keeping things quiet surrounding him.
Bourn would fill the gap in center, should Granderson leave after 2013, and he would also give the Yankees the ability to trade him at any point in the season to capitalize on a big return.
Bourn, however, has not been linked to the Yankees for a while and also has yet to sign anywhere. New York will most likely sit this one out.
The Tampa Bay Rays needed to find more offense either through free agency or a trade this offseason. And they were basically willing to do whatever it took via trade to do so—Tampa Bay didn’t necessarily have the money to spend on a big-name free agent.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported that Rays ace David Price was on the trade block and Tampa Bay would deal him for the right offer. Price has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last couple of seasons and would bring good return back a good return to the Rays.
Instead of trading Price, the Rays traded James Shields instead. Tampa Bay landed the top Royals prospect in return for Shields and probably could’ve gotten a bigger package if it would’ve dealt Price instead.
The Miami Marlins are looking for young talent and are willing to part with basically anyone to get some. Miami traded a load of players to the Toronto Blue Jays to land a couple of prospects to benefit it in the future.
Jayson Stark of ESPN reported that the Marlins explored a handful of trades to get a young third baseman, including a deal that would’ve sent Mike Olt from the Texas Rangers to Miami.
The trade for Olt went unsuccessful, as were the others deals that the Marlins tried, and Miami went on to sign Placido Polanco to play third base instead.
Miami would’ve had to give up a very good player in order to pry Olt from Texas, so signing Polanco was a much cheaper option.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians came into the winter looking to do one thing: get better. Both teams had talent that they didn’t necessarily need to hang on to and could make a deal with each other with ease.
Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reported that the two teams were talking about a deal that would have sent Asdrubal Cabrera to Philadelphia and Vance Worley and prospects to Cleveland. Hoynes did report that Cabrera would end up playing third base instead of shortstop.
The Indians decided to keep Cabrera, but the Phillies didn’t do the same with Worley. Philadelphia sent Worley and prospects to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Ben Revere.
Looking to improve their outfield, the Atlanta Braves went out seeking players to add via trade. The Braves already had Martin Prado and Jason Heyward, but were losing Michael Bourn. To replace Bourn, Atlanta signed B.J. Upton, but it still wanted more.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Braves made an “aggressive” offer to acquire former Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. This came after Cleveland traded Choo to the Cincinnati Reds.
The Braves didn’t give up, though. They parted ways with Prado and prospects in order to acquire Arizona Diamondbacks star Justin Upton. Choo likely would have played the same role that Upton is expected to play, hitting in the heart of the lineup and playing left field.
After signing Shane Victorino, the Boston Red Sox had a couple of options. They could stay content with what they had or make further changes to their outfield. That could have meant trading Jacoby Ellsbury in order to sign either Nick Swisher or Cody Ross.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that there were rumors surrounding a deal that would have sent Ellsbury to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Andre Ethier. A source later said that the deal wouldn’t happen.
Ellsbury could have been the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter and moved Matt Kemp to right field. Ethier would have provided the Red Sox with a middle-of-the-order bat and a right fielder—moving Victorino to center field.
The Seattle Mariners are going to have a tough time competing in the American League West, which is something they haven’t done in a while. The Pittsburgh Pirates are an inconsistent club looking to make the postseason in 2013.
Why not play “Let’s Make a Deal?”
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the Pirates and Mariners were discussing a deal that would have swapped Garrett Jones for Taijuan Walker. Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington later denied the deal.
Jones hasn’t been the best first baseman, but he still has potential to improve. Walker, on the other hand, is one of the top Mariners prospects. If Huntington did have the opportunity to pull the trigger, he missed out on a great opportunity to improve for the future.
Andre Ethier has been a part of swirling rumors for a while now and that continued this winter. Ethier is one of the top outfielders in the National League, but teams have never had much success in trying to pry him from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Boston Red Sox were interested in acquiring Ethier, but were told he was “not available.” Heyman notes that the failed attempt a trade confirms that Ethier is staying in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers have a star-filled outfield with Ethier, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford and it seems as if they’re going to try to keep them together for a long time. If they all stay healthy and live up to their fullest potential, that’s one scary trio of outfielders.
The Seattle Mariners were looking to add depth to their weak outfield. Seattle had made a couple of small moves, but nothing good enough to propel them out of the cellar of the American League West.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported that Seattle was constantly calling the Los Angeles Dodgers with the hopes of acquiring Andre Ethier, but didn’t have any success. Ethier likely could have joined Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders in the Mariners’ outfield.
Since Seattle couldn’t land Ethier, it traded for Michael Morse instead. The Mariners also added Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay to help in the outfield in 2013. Ethier would have given Seattle a star in the outfield, but the Mariners will have to work with what they got instead.
With the San Diego Padres looking to boost their outfield for the upcoming season and future, not many names were available. San Diego couldn’t put up the money to get someone with the price tag of Josh Hamilton, so it had to look elsewhere.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres had talks with the Miami Marlins about acquiring Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton would have been a major upgrade to either Will Venable or Cameron Maybin, but the Padres couldn’t work out a deal.
The Marlins have since held on to Stanton, but could eventually deal him should they get an offer they like. The Padres, on the other hand, have had trouble finding talent to play on a daily basis. Their outfield definitely isn’t as strong as it could have been and will likely see poor results during the season.
Entering the winter, the Washington Nationals had a fine outfield. They had National League Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and potentially Michael Morse. But the Nationals still looked around the free agent market to improve their club.
Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reported that Washington had talked to B.J. Upton about potentially coming to D.C. Upton would likely play center field and move Morse to first base—pending the Nationals couldn’t re-sign Adam LaRoche.
The Nationals ended up re-signing LaRoche, trading Morse and also trading for Denard Span of the Minnesota Twins. Upton went on to sign with Washington’s divisional rivals, the Atlanta Braves. So the Nationals will see a lot of Upton, he’ll just be playing against them.
The Chicago Cubs are eventually going to win a World Series and it could end being because they had the right pitchers on their roster. They tried to add a couple of pitchers this offseason to hopefully get on the right track.
Chicago had a ton of interest in free-agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez. There came a point in the offseason where many thought that Sanchez was on his way to the Cubs. Bob Nightengale of USA Today even reported that Sanchez had signed with the team, even though it turned out to be inaccurate.
There was no deal in place for Sanchez with the Cubs. Sanchez went on to re-sign with the Detroit Tigers while the Cubs later added Edwin Jackson.
The things that general managers and executives in front offices come up with are truly remarkable. Take this situation, for instance, where the Texas Rangers wanted Justin Upton, but didn’t necessarily have the pieces to trade for him.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Rangers wanted to acquire Andrelton Simmons from the Atlanta Braves so that they could later trade him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Upton.
The Rangers never got their hands on Upton or Simmons for that matter. In fact, the Braves kept Simmons and landed Upton as well.
This was a tough one for the Rangers. Texas couldn’t complete the first part of the deal while Atlanta made everything look relatively easy.
The thing about making a trade is that one side is always going to want more than they really deserve. That was the case this offseason when the Boston Red Sox were looking to boost their rotation.
Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston reported that the Red Sox were looking into trading for New York Mets ace R.A. Dickey, but the Mets wanted Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley, Jr. for him.
Dickey has been good recently, but Bogaerts and Bradley are the two top prospects in Boston’s organization. There’s no way the Red Sox could deal both in exchange for a pitcher who isn’t guaranteed to sign an extension. And even if Dickey were to sign an extension, it still may not have been worth it for Boston.
The New York Yankees have not made much noise during the winter, letting several free agents walk without adding much at all. There was always the possibility of the Bronx Bombers making a blockbuster deal.
That monster deal this offseason could have been adding free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Yankees had been looking into Hamilton.
Hamilton would have provided the Yankees with a star in the middle of their lineup—somewhat replacing the injured Alex Rodriguez offensively. He also would have given them a replacement over Brett Gardner in left field. But instead, of course, Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
The New York Mets basically had to trade R.A. Dickey and they needed to do it the smoothest way possible. When negotiating with teams, one would think that being guaranteed to sign Dickey to an extension would be a major factor.
New York was talking a Dickey deal with the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto wanted to ensure an extension would happen. Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported that Dickey would not sign an extension with the Blue Jays.
As it turned out, Sherman was wrong. The Mets and Blue Jays agreed to a deal that would send Dickey to Toronto. The Blue Jays were given a window to negotiate a deal with Dickey, which they eventually did. But what would have happened if Dickey didn’t sign an extension?
Josh Hamilton had plenty of teams to choose from this offseason and rightfully so. He is a rare talent that many teams would love to have in their outfield and batting order. Basically, the Texas Rangers had a lot of competition this winter.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Seattle Mariners were one of Texas’ biggest threats. Heyman did report that Seattle wouldn’t be willing to go into the six-year range to land Hamilton.
Seattle really could have used some help, but we’ll never know how Hamilton would have done there. Hamilton chose to sign with the Los Angeles instead of Texas, Seattle or anyone else. I assume season ticket sales for the Mariners would have skyrocketed should he have chosen Seattle.
With Josh Hamilton spurning the Texas Rangers, the Rangers had to find a way to replace his production—which obviously is a tough thing to do. But that didn’t stop Texas from trying to do so.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that once Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers interest in Giancarlo Stanton picked up. Frisaro reported that the Miami Marlins might have been willing to trade Stanton to the Rangers in exchange for Jurickson Profar and/or Mike Olt, among other prospects.
Although the Rangers still have Profar and Olt, and the Marlins still have Stanton, I wouldn’t expect a deal of this nature to happen. The Marlins wouldn’t really have much to entice fans to come watch in 2013.
The Texas Rangers needed some help with plenty of their 2012 players hitting the free agent market—and with no guarantee they’d be able to re-sign any of them. One point of focus was their starting rotation, which didn’t really need help, but help wouldn’t hurt either.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that Anibal Sanchez was on the Rangers’ radar, even though they weren’t likely to give out a big deal. Texas already had good frontline starters and didn’t need to overpay someone to be the No. 3 or No. 4 in the rotation.
The Rangers eventually dropped out of the race to land Sanchez and he went on to re-sign with the Detroit Tigers. Texas will enter spring training with Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison atop its rotation. In hindsight—looking at how much Sanchez got—Texas should be happy it let him sign elsewhere.
After Josh Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels, a lot of things started to fall into place. Los Angeles suddenly had an extra outfielder and was still seeking pitching help after Zack Greinke hit the free agent market.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Angels had interest in trading for R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets. Passan noted that the Mets would likely want Peter Bourjos—and obviously a lot more—in return for the knuckleballer.
The reported interest, however, never went anywhere. The Angels didn’t even end up trading Bourjos. Rather, they traded Kendrys Morales instead. The Mets eventually dealt Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for a handful of great prospects. If Los Angeles were to land Dickey, though, that would have been a fantastic starting rotation.
Zack Greinke entered the offseason as the most talented starting pitcher available, and plenty of teams were willing to pay top dollar to land his talents. But where would he choose to play for the next several years?
Greinke narrowed down his choices to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers. Scott Miller of CBS Sports reported that many people with the Dodgers felt that momentum was in the Rangers’ favor. They thought that because, if Greinke wanted to go to Los Angeles, he could have done it already.
It may have taken longer for Greinke to sign than some may have liked, but he did end up signing with the Dodgers. The Rangers again failed to sign a top-notch free agent that they had their hearts set on. That seemed to be a theme this offseason in Texas.
The Texas Rangers operate best with an MVP-caliber superstar in their outfield—but which team really doesn’t? For a while, that player had been Josh Hamilton. When he hit free agency this winter, Texas had to either re-sign him or find a replacement.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Rangers were very high on Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rosenthal noted that Texas could sign Hamilton, trade for Upton or possibly even both.
Texas wasn’t able to re-sign Hamilton and it wasn’t able to trade for Upton. The Rangers could’ve put together a package including Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus, but didn’t feel like trading either of those pieces was worth it.
Now, without Hamilton, we’ll get to see if not making a trade was the right or wrong move.
Whether the Tampa Bay Rays always have a great line of prospects in the organization or not, I always seem to think they do. The Rays do have a ton of young talent, but they have stayed away from parting with it. Instead, they wait for their prospects to flourish in Triple-A and then give them a shot in Tampa.
This sort of scenario wouldn’t have happened if the Rays had traded for Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton, whom they had interest in, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
Tampa Bay actually took the opposite approach this winter, instead. They traded one of their stars in order to acquire more young talent. Giancarlo Stanton remains with the Marlins for now and the Rays’ minor league system remains intact.
Chase Headley has emerged as one of the great talents in the game and so has Justin Upton. But both stars have widely been regarded as trade bait.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that Arizona and San Diego had talks about swapping Upton for Headley, but had troubles creating traction on a deal. Without a ton of great prospects, Rosenthal notes that Headley would have to be dealt in any major deal.
The Padres decided to hang on to Headley for the time being, as they watched the Diamondbacks trade Upton to the Atlanta Braves. They hope that he can replicate his MVP-like numbers from the 2012 season.
For whatever reason, the Arizona Diamondbacks have never been as high on Justin Upton as fans, media and other teams. It was well communicated that Arizona didn’t think Upton was a star or could be a star with the Diamondbacks.
Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona reported that although the Diamondbacks felt this way, they weren’t going to trade Upton. Magruder said that general manager Kevin Towers was almost certain that would be the case.
Arizona eventually got a deal that it liked and lined things up for Upton to be traded to the Seattle Mariners. The problem, however, is that Upton invoked his no-trade clause and rejected the deal. The Diamondbacks were then forced to trade Upton elsewhere, dealing him to the Atlanta Braves a short time after.
With an aged roster and young players not playing at their fullest potential yet, the Philadelphia Phillies entered the offseason needing some fresh talent. Their outfield, in particular, needed a boost. Even after trading for Ben Revere, the Phillies weren’t sold.
Buster Olney of ESPN reported that Phillies’ officials were fine with giving Josh Hamilton a three-year contract. A three-year period would be just right for Philadelphia, as their stars would be really faded by that time and the World Series window would be closed.
The Phillies weren’t in the final running for Hamilton, as he later signed with the Los Angeles Angels. It seems as if Philadelphia will go into spring training with Revere in center, Delmon Young in right field and a platoon including Domonic Brown in left field.
When Josh Hamilton hit the free-agent market this offseason, it was widely considered that there was a great chance he’d return to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers had been his home for a while and he’d grown to be one of the league’s best players there.
Texas had serious interest about bringing Hamilton back on a fair deal, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan noted that re-signing Hamilton was part of the plan going forward, but he wasn’t necessarily going to give him a seven-year contract.
Hamilton began to negotiate more with other teams, mainly the Los Angeles Angels. Once he had a deal that he liked with them, he signed it. Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports reported that he never even gave the Rangers a chance to match the offer.
Do you think there’s some bad blood brewing in the American League West?
Cliff Lee is one of the best pitchers in baseball and has been for a long time. Although he seems comfortable with the Philadelphia Phillies, he has been a part of trade rumors and actual trades frequently in the past. This offseason was no different.
Pedro Gomez of ESPN reported in early December that the Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks were discussing a deal that would have sent Lee to Arizona in exchange for Justin Upton, with money going to Arizona as well.
This would have been a monster trade had it happened. The Phillies would have gotten a star outfielder for the future while the Diamondbacks would have added another great starter to their rotation. But Lee hasn’t been moved yet while Arizona shipped Upton off to the Atlanta Braves.
Teams have to be extremely careful when trying to trade a player these days. The media picks up rumors like it’s nobody’s business and even the slightest rumor can come out in the blink of an eye. If you don’t believe me, ask the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona was set to trade their star player, Justin Upton, to the Seattle Mariners for a ton of young talent. But the catch was that Upton had a no-trade clause that included Seattle. Word got out that the deal was going to happen, that is, until Upton rejected the trade. He didn’t want to go play for the Mariners—which was well within his right.
Since everyone knew the Diamondbacks tried trading Upton, they were left in a weird spot. They couldn’t really keep someone that they failed trying to deal. Arizona ended up working out a deal that sent Upton to play with his brother, B.J., on the Atlanta Braves.