GM says Royals will “explore” a trade for Carlos Zambrano

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Yesterday during an interview with 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore said that the Royals will “explore” a potential trade for Carlos Zambrano, who’s currently pitching in the Venezuelan winter league.

Via David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, here’s what Moore told host Mark Carman:

We would have to be interested. We would have to explore it because that’s what you should do. You should explore every opportunity. Carlos Zambrano is a heckuva competitor. Carlos Zambrano has had a lot of success in the major leagues. Carlos Zambrano is actually a very pleasant, easy going, classy person off the field.

Sometimes, as with all of us the competitiveness takes over and brings out qualities in us that we are not proud of. Obviously the Cubs grew tired of some of his outbursts but I believe in our coaching staff and we’ll always take a chance and a risk on certain players. We’ll see how that particular situation unfolds.

If the Cubs could unload the $18 million remaining on Zambrano’s contract and get any kind of a decent prospect in return for him they’d no doubt jump at the opportunity, but new team president Theo Epstein has indicated that they may decide not to simply unload Zambrano if it means eating most of that salary.

Moore and the Royals added rotation help yesterday in the form of Jonathan Sanchez, but they still have room for another veteran starter or two to help supplement the youth movement. Of course, it may all be a moot point because Zambrano has a no-trade clause and Kansas City presumably isn’t very high on his list of preferred destinations.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.