Davey Johnson thinks Brewers will trade Zack Greinke before Sunday matchup with Nationals

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Zack Greinke is scheduled to make his final pre-trade deadline start Sunday versus Washington, but Nationals manager Davey Johnson doesn’t expect to actually face him.

Johnson told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’d “be real surprised” if Greinke is still on the Brewers by then, speculating that “if the ball club’s intent on making a move they’re not going to pitch him two days before the deadline.”

Johnson also noted that whichever team trades for Greinke would want to immediately insert him into the rotation, whereas starting Sunday would make him unavailable until Friday.

Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin admitted yesterday that Greinke will definitely be traded before Tuesday’s deadline, so it’s only a matter of when and Johnson at least thinks the deal will be completed within the next 48 hours.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.