MLB Trade Rumors: Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury and Other Latest Updates
Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, it's officially baseball season.
Well, not quite.
We still have to make it through the end of the NHL and NBA season's, as well as March Madness, which is always an exciting time of year.
However, it's never too early to start talking baseball. Furthermore, it's never too early to start talking about the MLB hot stove and numerous trade rumors.
Spring training is in its early stages, so teams are still evaluating their rosters and determining what they have. Still, there are a few players who could be on the move before teams break camp and head north for the summer.
Here are some of the latest updates.
Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankees
Chamberlain, coming off a somewhat disappointing season a year ago, is off to another rocky start with the Yankees after he arrived at spring training overweight and clearly out of shape.
A year ago, Chamberlain posted a 3-4 record and a 4.40 ERA in his first season as a full-time reliever.
The Yankees are in a bit of a bind when it comes to what to do with Chamberlain, because his value has never been lower than it is now. They could move him soon for little to no value, or could wait for the season to start and hope he shows considerable improvement and increases his trade value. The Yankees have also said they are not considering moving Chamberlain back to the starting rotation.
Make no mistake about it, however: if the right offer came along, the Yankees would be quick to move Chamberlain. Their biggest need right now is at the back end of their rotation, and they could look to swap Chamberlain for a starter.
Carlos Beltran, New York Mets
Beltran will be a major trade chip as the trade deadline approaches in July, but the Mets have also shown they would move him if the right deal came along right now.
The Mets and Angels were in discussions about a deal that would have sent Beltran to L.A., however the Angels decided to trade for the Blue Jay's Vernon Wells instead.
Beltran is in the last year of his contract.
Due to the fact that Beltran has battled injuries over the course of the last two seasons, teams are likely to hold off on dealing for the outfielder until he proves he is back healthy and willing to contribute. Should he be able to do that, and the Mets fall out of the race early, it will likely become a situation of when he be traded, not if he will be traded
Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks
Over this past offseason, one of the biggest names that was said to be available was 23-year-old Justin Upton.
It seemed odd that the team would look to trade Upton given his age and talent level, but nevertheless the Diamondbacks had discussions with several different teams.
However, Upton seems to be officially off the market. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers recently said that the team had no real interest in trading their young star, rather they just wanted to hear what other teams would be offering.
According to Upton, there is no animosity between himself and the organization, and he expressed his desire to remain in Arizona for years to come.
Hopefully no one had high hopes about trading for Upton, because it isn't happening.
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees
"I'm not going anywhere," Teixeira recently said. "I'm going to be buried in pinstripes."
While it was never realistic that the Yankees were going to trade their All-Star first basemen, nevertheless there had been some rumors that the Yankees were looking into swapping Teixeira for the Cardinals Albert Pujols, who will be a free agent at the end of this season and has yet to reach an extension with St. Louis.
The Yankees have denied looking into any such deal.
Even if the Yankees could pull a deal like that off, Teixeira would still need to waive his no-trade clause, and it is doubtful that he would do that.
Teixeira isn't going anywhere.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
Although the Red Sox made Jacoby Ellsbury available this past offseason, they never received an offer with enough value for them to move him.
Instead, Ellsbury has entered spring training looking for a fresh start and is ready to put 2010 behind them.
He is working with the Red Sox' new addition, Carl Crawford, on how to become an even better base stealer, which is a scary thought considering all the speed that he possesses.
Ellsbury could still be dealt if the right package comes along for the Red Sox, but no trade seems imminent.
Ellsbury is expected to bat ninth in the lineup come Opening Day.
Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies
Blanton is owed $17 million over the course of the next two seasons, which presents a major roadblock for any team who may have interest in him.
A team like the Yankees, however, could pursue him if they don't like what they see from some of their young pitchers in spring training.
The Phillies would love to find a suitor for Blanton. If a team became desperate enough, such a deal could happen.
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Fielder, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, is said to be seeking a deal that exceeds $200 million. The Brewers aren't fond of the idea of investing so much money in one player, making it likely that this will be Fielder's last season with the Brewers.
Prince won't be traded before the season starts, as the Brewers have assembled what they think will be a pennant-contending team. If for some reason the Brewers disappoint and fall out of the race by July, Fielder could be on the move mid-season.
But as long as the Brewers are led by Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke, they should be in contention for the whole season.
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox
It is almost a foregone conclusion that Jonathan Papelbon will not be back with the Red Sox in 2012. Papelbon views himself as a top-notch closer and expects to be paid like one, but the Red Sox have other ideas.
The Red Sox were in discussions with both the A's and Angels regarding Papelbon, but talks never really heated up and nothing materialized.
Papelbon will continue to be on the trade block for the majority of the season, even if the Red Sox are in contention, which they are fully expected to be.
With Daniel Bard as the closer-in-waiting, Papelbon has no real leverage left with Boston.
Michael Young, Texas Rangers
The relationship between Young and the Texas Rangers seems to have been damaged beyond repair, resulting in Young formally requesting a trade from the team last month.
Young says that the organization lied to him, telling him they weren't trying to trade him when in reality they actually were.
The Rangers deemed Young expendable when they inked free agent third basemen Adrian Beltre to a long-term deal over the winter.
The Rangers have expressed interest in keeping Young on the team, but are privately trying to accommodate his wish to be traded. Young has put together a list of eight teams he would accept a trade to, including the Twins and Cardinals.
At this point, a split between Young and the Rangers seems inevitable. It wouldn't be a surprise if Young was on another team by Opening Day.