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.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.