The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the Indians have talked to the Braves about Justin Upton. Reporter Paul Hoynes speculated the Indians would have to part with either Danny Salazar or Trevor Bauer in a deal for Upton. Hoynes’ sources said right now “it’s not a good fit,” but believed the two teams could revisit talks this week at the winter meetings.
Bauer was 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts in Cleveland last season, while Salazar was 6-8 with a 4.25 ERA in 20 starts.
The Dallas Morning News reported the Rangers have interest in Evan Gattis. Reporter Evan Grant speculated the Braves may look at pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Alex Gonzalez.
Thompson was a second round pick of the Tigers in 2012. Texas got him from Detroit in the Joaquin Soria trade. Baseball America recently rated Thompson as Texas’ second-best prospect. He was 10-5 in 25 games between High-A and Double-A last season, with 130 strikeouts in 129.2 innings. Gonzalez was the sixth-best prospect by BA. He was 12-6 between High-A and AA and had a 2.66 ERA in 138.2 innings.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Braves have told teams third baseman Chris Johnson is available and have tried to package him in trade talks with Justin Upton. Nightengale also reported the Braves are interested in free agent reliever Jason Grilli, who split last season between the Pirates and Angels. Grilli had an ERA of 4.00 in 62 games between the two teams. He was an All-Star in 2013 when he had 33 saves with Pittsburgh.
The Padres, Giants, Rangers, Tigers and Royals continue to be linked with Justin Upton. Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported Monday that the Braves asked Kansas City for Yordano Ventura when the Royals asked for Evan Gattis. Kansas City politely declined. Expect the teams to chat again this week in San Diego.
A day after being linked to free agent infielder Stephen Drew, the Braves continue to look at middle infielders. Free agents Daniel Descalso and Gordon Beckham are other options that the Braves are looking at. The Braves are looking for a veteran to bridge the gap at second base until Jose Peraza is expected to take over as the starting second baseman and leadoff hitter.
Atlanta is close to a deal with Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano. Baseball America reported the Braves have signed Toscano, while John Hart said the two sides were simply close to an agreement.
Toscano is a left-handed hitter who has been described as “Jose Constanza with more pop.” He is “at best a good fourth outfielder,” according to a scout. The Braves saw Toscano several times in the Dominican. If Toscano is signed, it will demonstrate a renewed emphasis in international scouting.
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