Rangers still want to trade for Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton

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Most assumed that after losing free agent righty Zack Greinke to the Dodgers, the Rangers would shift their focus (and winter budget) back toward Josh Hamilton. But that might not be the case.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers “still want to trade for” Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. Which would mean letting Hamilton walk and going after one of the other free agent starters or spinning another trade for a front-line guy like R.A. Dickey or James Shields.

Upton batted .280/.355/.430 with 17 home runs, 18 stolen bases, 24 doubles and 67 RBI across 628 plate appearances this past season for Arizona.

The 25-year-old is under contract through the 2015 campaign for a total of $38.5 million.

The Snakes are known to want a shortstop in return and the Rangers don’t want to surrender either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, which is why a multi-team trade has recently been explored.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.