Zack Greinke

Some rumblings about Zack Greinke going to the Braves


I call the noise surrounding Zack Greinke possibly being traded to the Braves “rumblings” because they’re something less than rumors. But they’re not nothing. Starting from the notion that (a) the Brewers probably want to trade Greinke; and (b) the Braves could use starting pitching, we go to:

Braves fans who follow O’Brien will recognize this as significant simply because O’Brien rarely if ever oversells the Braves’ interest in anyone. To the contrary, he’s usually quick to shoot down unreasonable trade speculation among the fan base, even if the speculation is not necessarily wild. So if he’s saying the Braves are “seriously considering” Atlanta, that’s something.

Of course the rental aspect of Greinke — and the Braves’ recent lack of willingness to spend big money on, well, anyone other than Dan Uggla — puts some cold water on it. Sure, O’Brien says the Braves may be OK with a rental. But if there’s no long term possibility?

As we saw last time he was about to leave a team, Zack Greinke has some very definite ideas about where he wants to play — and where he doesn’t want to play. And one former teammate said Greinke would like to be an Atlanta Brave, if given the chance.

According to Greinke’s friend, he very much likes Atlanta, and its proximity to his Florida home would be another plus (Greinke hails from the Orlando area).

Well, maybe Greinke would be open to a long term thing with Atlanta after all.  Of course, the citation to a “friend” is a Jon Heyman special, and this is a Jon Heyman report.  Also worth noting that rare is the case that these geographic preference reports carry much weight. Remember how CC Sabathia wanted to be in California and Cliff Lee wanted to be someplace more like Arkansas than Philly?  Yeah. Money talks.

But again, it’s not nothing. And when a team as shy to pull the trigger on anything as the late-model Braves are get mentioned as  “seriously considering” anything, you at least have to take some notice.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.

The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto’s agent

AP Photo/David Goldman
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Update (7:58 PM EST): Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart met with Cueto earlier this month in the Dominican Republic and made a contract offer that the right-hander turned down. The Diamondbacks maintain interest in the free agent.


Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.

Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.

Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.

As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.

Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is reportedly trying to trade Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe

Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.

Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.

Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.

Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.