Rosenthal: Dodgers “most willing” to trade James Loney

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We’ve heard Matt Kemp bandied about in some trade talk, mostly of the silly Hot Stove variety, but major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that James Loney is the position player the Dodgers are “most willing” to trade.

Loney batted just .267/.329/.395 with 10 homers, 88 RBI and a 723 OPS this past season, poor production from a first baseman. The 26-year-old has topped 88 RBI in three consecutive seasons, but hasn’t had more than 13 homers or a 772 OPS since 2007. The 26-year-old agreed to a one-year, $3.1 million contract in his first go-around in arbitration this past January, so he’s in line to make even more this winter.

The free agent market is fairly deep as far as power hitting first basemen are concerned, so the Dodgers could make a trade to attempt to upgrade either at third base or in left field. One scenario Rosenthal paints is that the Dodgers could turn to a left field platoon featuring Jay Gibbons and Casey Blake. 37-year-old Blake in left field? Ouch. No thank you.

I suppose you could throw Loney in there as a non-tender candidate, but I believe he will be offered a contract, even if the Dodgers are unable to find a trade partner. It’s interesting that Rosenthal hears that Loney is the position player the Dodgers are “most willing” to trade when they also have Russell Martin under team control. Martin, who underwent hip surgery in August and has underperformed in each of the past two seasons, could make around $6 million in arbitration this winter.

Derek Jeter-Jeb Bush reportedly in agreement to purchase the Marlins

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UPDATE: In the wake of the earlier reports now come multiple reports that, yes, Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush are in agreement to purchase the Miami Marlins. No one in the know is commenting officially, however.

A purchase price is not yet known, though it is expected to be, at a minimum, $1.4 billion, which was the sale price of the Mariners last year. Reports are that Jeter and Bush are still seeking funding sources, but that rival groups have dropped out and that Jeff Loria and the Jeter-Bush team have a handshake agreement.

There are, as we have seen in recent years, a few hurdles to get over, primarily the finalization of funding. But at the moment it appears as if Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush are going to be the next owners of the Miami Marlins.

2:44 PM: There are a couple of confusing and potentially conflicting reports swirling about the Miami Marlins sale right now.

When last we heard, there were two high-profile groups with reported interest. One run by Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and politician Jeb Bush. The other run by Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and . . . son of politician, Tagg Romney.

Today Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported that the Jeter-Bush group has “won the auction” for the team. Mike Ozanian of Forbes reported earlier in the day, however, that they haven’t “won” anything. They merely remain the last group standing and that they have submitted a “non-binding indication of interest,” which, as the name suggests, means very little formally. They’re still seeking funding sources. Ozanian reports that the Glavine-Romney team is out.

That’s all a bit confusing, but given how team sales tend to go — slowly, with pretty established and plugged-in sports business types deliberately reporting the progress of negotiations — Ozanian’s report feels a bit more credible. Either way, I’d say it’s way, way too early to photoshop a Marlins cap on old pictures of Derek Jeter just yet.

UPDATE: Then there’s this:

Which does make it sound more official, but leaves open the question of whether Jeter and Bush have the money together.

The first native Lithuanian in MLB history made his debut last night

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. But let’s not allow that to take away from some MLB history.

Last night a young man named Dovydas Neverauskas pitched in mopup duty for the Pirates, who were getting hammered by the Cubs. Mr. Neverauskas pitched two innings, allowing one run, making him, by default, the most effective pitcher the Pirates sent out there last night.

That’s good, but that’s not what makes it historic. What makes it historic is that Neverauskas is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Majors. Here’s some back story on him from last year’s Futures Game.

Lithuania is known for producing basketball players. Now it has its first major leaguer. Whether he becomes baseball’s Arvydas Sabonis is an open question.