Ruben Amaro Jr. shoots down Justin Upton for Cliff Lee rumor

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Pedro Gomez of ESPN.com has the most interesting rumor of the winter meetings so far:

Justin Upton being shopped around is well known, but Cliff Lee as the return would seemingly come out of nowhere (although can there really be “out of nowhere” when Ruben Amaro Jr. is involved?). Lee has three years and $87.5 million remaining on his deal, while Upton is owed $38.5 million for the next three seasons.

UPDATE: Not so fast, apparently. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Repuplic spoke to a Diamondbacks source who said the Upton-for-Lee deal “hasn’t been discussed” and is “off base.”

UPDATE #2: Amaro very strongly denied the Gomez report, calling it “absolutely and unequivocally false.”

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.