Author: Matthew Pouliot

upton getty

Report: Justin Upton talks ongoing, this time without the Indians


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.

///’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.

Braves sign Reed Johnson to one-year deal with option

Reed Johnson

Even though Reed Johnson struggled after coming over from the Cubs in the Paul Maholm-Arodys Vizcaino deal in July, the Braves saw something they liked. They re-signed the veteran outfielder to a one-year deal with a club option for 2014.

Johnson, who turns 36 later this week, hit .302/.355/.444 in 169 at-bats for the Cubs last season, but he came in at .270/.305/.320 with no homers and just three walks in 100 at-bats for the Braves.

Used to coming off the bench, Johnson has played in at least 100 games but received no more than 270 at-bats three years running now. He’s hit over .300 against lefties each of the last seven years.

The Braves will view Johnson as an upgrade from Matt Diaz as a right-handed-hitting reserve. They’re still on the lookout for a starting left fielder to play alongside B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward.

Ryan Ludwick still weighing Reds’ offer

Ryan Ludwick

Sources tell the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay and’s Ken Rosenthal that Ryan Ludwick is still considering whether to take the Reds’ offer or sign for a bit more money elsewhere.

The Mets are one of the teams considering Ludwick, while the Reds are believed to be offering him a two-year deal worth $6 million-$7 million per year.

Ludwick hit .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers and 80 RBI in 422 at-bats for the Reds last season  He also homered three times in the five-game NLDS loss to the Giants. In this market, those numbers would seem to be worth more in the neighborhood of $8 million-$10 million per year. However, Ludwick’s history of inconsistency, combined with the age and mediocre defense, appear to have cut into his market.

Report: Red Sox sign Koji Uehara to one-year, $4.25 million deal

Koji Uehara

Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Red Sox and setup man Koji Uehara have agreed to a one-year deal, pending a physical.’s Jon Morosi says the contract has a $4.25 million base salary.

One imagines Uehara could have held out for a multiyear deal, given his career 2.89 ERA and 0.92 WHIP since arriving in the U.S. four years ago. However, he has dealt with arm problems. Last season, he had a 1.75 ERA and a ridiculous 43/3 K/BB ratio in 36 innings for Texas.

Uehara joins a Boston pen also set to include Andrew Bailey, Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves and Craig Breslow, with Junichi Tazawa, Daniel Bard, Clayton Mortensen, Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales (if he’s not in the rotation) also in the mix. It’s possible his addition might force his countryman, Tazawa, out of the mix. Bard is out of options, so the Red Sox will have to keep him in the majors or trade him.

Phillies getting closer to acquiring Michael Young

Michael Young

If this comes together, the Phillies will possess one of the most expensive infields of all-time.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and Phillies are in “advanced talks” about a deal that would send Michael Young and cash to the Phillies for a reliever and a prospect.

The Rangers would cover more than half of the $16 million that Young is due next year in the final season of his five-year, $80 million contract. The 36-year-old Young, who has a full no-trade clause, hit .277/.312/.370 with eight homers and 67 RBI in 611 at-bats last season. He was far better in 2011, batting .338/.380/.474 with 11 homers and 106 RBI in 631 at-bats.

In return, the Rangers would likely get “a young major league reliever,” according to Grant. The guess here is that it would be Justin De Fratus, but Josh Lindblom, Michael Schwimer and Jake Diekman would also qualify. It’s hard to imagine that big right-hander Phillippe Aumont would be involved.

Young would take over as the Phillies’ third baseman, replacing free agent Placido Polanco. The infield of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Young would make a combined $62 million next year.