3:20 p.m. EST update: Rosenthal is quoting an official involved in the talks as saying they’re “not dead,” but that things are no further along than they were going into the winter meetings.
3:00 p.m. EST update: Speaking with reporters about a half hour ago, Rangers GM Jon Daniels aid he was packed and ready to leave the winter meetings without completing a deal.
1:38 p.m. EST update: While other teams have packed up and left, Rosenthal says the Rangers, Diamondbacks and Rays are still at the winter meetings working on a Justin Upton trade.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is chiming back in on the Justin Upton trade talks, this time saying that two scenarios are in play, neither of which involve the Indians.
The Indians had been key in yesterday’s rumors, with Asdrubal Cabrera going to Arizona as the shortstop the Diamondbacks were thought to require in an Upton trade to Texas.
Rosenthal reports that both current scenarios involve the Rangers, Diamondbacks and Rays. One is a three-team deal and the other is a four-team deal that would include the Mariners.
While it’s speculation, Rosenthal thinks one way the deal could line up for the Rangers is for a Rays starter to go to Arizona, with Rangers third baseman Mike Olt and other prospects landing in Tampa Bay.
James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson could be the Rays starter in that plan.
Such an addition to the Arizona rotation could perhaps allow the Diamondbacks to swing a Cabrera deal with Cleveland afterwards.
As for the Mariners, they’re still believed to want Derek Holland from Texas. ESPN Radio’s Jim Bowden points out that the Mariners may be involved in order to aid the Rangers in getting Upton and thus help their chances of signing Josh Hamilton.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.