Some rumblings about Zack Greinke going to the Braves

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I call the noise surrounding Zack Greinke possibly being traded to the Braves “rumblings” because they’re something less than rumors. But they’re not nothing. Starting from the notion that (a) the Brewers probably want to trade Greinke; and (b) the Braves could use starting pitching, we go to:

Braves fans who follow O’Brien will recognize this as significant simply because O’Brien rarely if ever oversells the Braves’ interest in anyone. To the contrary, he’s usually quick to shoot down unreasonable trade speculation among the fan base, even if the speculation is not necessarily wild. So if he’s saying the Braves are “seriously considering” Atlanta, that’s something.

Of course the rental aspect of Greinke — and the Braves’ recent lack of willingness to spend big money on, well, anyone other than Dan Uggla — puts some cold water on it. Sure, O’Brien says the Braves may be OK with a rental. But if there’s no long term possibility?

As we saw last time he was about to leave a team, Zack Greinke has some very definite ideas about where he wants to play — and where he doesn’t want to play. And one former teammate said Greinke would like to be an Atlanta Brave, if given the chance.

According to Greinke’s friend, he very much likes Atlanta, and its proximity to his Florida home would be another plus (Greinke hails from the Orlando area).

Well, maybe Greinke would be open to a long term thing with Atlanta after all.  Of course, the citation to a “friend” is a Jon Heyman special, and this is a Jon Heyman report.  Also worth noting that rare is the case that these geographic preference reports carry much weight. Remember how CC Sabathia wanted to be in California and Cliff Lee wanted to be someplace more like Arkansas than Philly?  Yeah. Money talks.

But again, it’s not nothing. And when a team as shy to pull the trigger on anything as the late-model Braves are get mentioned as  “seriously considering” anything, you at least have to take some notice.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.