Justin Upton

Rosenthal: Mariners in mix for four-team Justin Upton trade

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says that while the four-team Justin Upton talks are going nowhere fast, they’re not yet dead, not with Rangers GM Jon Daniels working hard to keep them alive.

Rosenthal reports that the Mariners have replaced the Rays as the fourth team involved in talks. They would likely get Rangers left-hander Derek Holland in return for whatever talent they surrendered.

The Rangers’ goal in the proceeding is to get Justin Upton from Arizona, and to accomplish that, it seems they’re going to have to facilitate a deal that would send Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians to the Diamondbacks.

What’s odd about that whole aspect is that the Diamondbacks and Indians wouldn’t seem to need the Rangers at all, given that the Diamondbacks have young pitching to trade. However, it sounds as though the Indians are more interested in Tyler Skaggs than fellow top prospect Trevor Bauer, while the Diamondbacks prefer to deal Bauer.

So, perhaps it all boils down like this:

Rangers get Upton from Diamondbacks
Diamondbacks get Cabrera from Indians, prospect from Rangers
Mariners get Holland from Rangers
Indians get prospect(s) from Mariners

For the Mariners’ side, it’s hard to imagine they’d trade top prospect Taijuan Walker for Holland. However, Danny Hultzen could be in play. Jesus Montero might be another possibility.

Anyway, the whole mess seems unlikely to come together. However, it’s become pretty clear that the Rangers’ preference is to end the winter with Upton and Zack Greinke and that Josh Hamilton has become the fallback option.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.

Tigers to give Omar Infante some work in center field this spring

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Omar Infante #4 of the Detroit Tigers follows through on an RBI single scoring Prince Fielder #28 during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field  on September 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
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Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.

Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.

The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”