What’s the hold up? Rays and Padres still haven’t finalized Jason Bartlett trade

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It’s been six days since the Rays and Padres were said to have agreed upon a trade sending Jason Bartlett to San Diego for relievers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell, yet the deal is still “on hold” and no one seems quite sure what’s going on.

According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune “a strange silence has fallen over both camps” and “calls and e-mails” to both teams “got no response” over the weekend.

What makes the whole thing particularly strange is that Bartlett revealed last Wednesday the Rays had contacted him to inform him of the trade, only to admit later that he actually learned of the supposed deal from a television report.

Center speculates that the trade could be contingent on the Padres working out a contract with Bartlett, who’s due for a raise to around $5 million via arbitration. He also speculates that perhaps someone raised a red flag regarding one of the two pitchers heading to Tampa Bay.

In the meantime several other shortstop options have either signed or been traded, leaving the Padres with significantly fewer choices to fill the position if the Bartlett deal ultimately falls through.

Monday, 7:23 PM: This isn’t confirmed by the team, but someone tipped off Jason Collette of Dock of the Rays that Cesar Ramos is currently listed on the 7-day disabled list for Hermosilo in the Mexican Winter League. A source told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune last Friday that the Rays wanted a second opinion on one of the pitchers involved in the trade, so this find could have some merit. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: This one just keeps getting weirder. Cesar Ramos told Dan Hayes of the North County Times that he is healthy and that he was only placed on the disabled list for his team in the Mexican Winter League in order to clear a roster spot. Ramos even tells Hayes that the Padres called him on Monday to make sure that he was healthy. Sounds like even they don’t know why this thing is on hold…

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.