Zack Greinke

Rangers “could end up being first in line” for Zack Greinke

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Waiting for Cliff Lee to choose his long-term home makes it tough for the Rangers to pull off any big moves in the meantime, but T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that general manager Jon Daniels is in the market for rotation help and “could end up being first in line” for Zack Greinke if the Royals active shop their ace.

Sullivan calls trading for Greinke a “Plan B” for Texas, noting that “the Rangers’ first choice is to re-sign Lee.”

He also speculates that Daniels could pursue trades for Rays starters Matt Garza or James Shields and White Sox starters Gavin Floyd or Edwin Jackson.

Lee is fielding offers as a free agent and Scott Feldman’s health status is uncertain following knee surgery, so the Rangers’ current rotation is C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Tommy Hunter, and Derek Holland, with Matt Harrison or Michael Kirkman in line for the fifth spot.

Even after giving up a Justin Smoak-led package of prospects for Lee the Rangers have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, so Daniels definitely has the ability to make another big splash regardless of where Lee decides to sign.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.