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Monday, December 3, 2012
Lobby talk: Zack Greinke sweepstakes

By Richard Durrett



NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It seems that everywhere you turn at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center that somebody has the Los Angeles Dodgers on the brain. Mainly, it's a comment about how they have an unlimited budget, especially when it comes to Zack Greinke.

But with Clayton Kershaw up for a deal in a few years, perhaps the Dodgers won't simply throw as much cash as needed to get Greinke. And the Rangers aren't ones to back to from a fight, especially if it's a chance to vastly improve the club by adding a top-tier pitcher. Joel Sherman of the New York posts tweets that the Rangers are "right there" with the Dodgers on a willingness to spend on Greinke. Stay tuned.

Other things seen and heard in the lobby (again, take it with a grain of salt):

* Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Rangers remain the "most aggressive team on Hamilton," but I'm struck by the lack of Hamilton discussion in the various lobbies here. I attribute that to Mike Moye's style of not revealing anything, an approach the Rangers have mastered.

* ESPN.com's Jayson Stark tweeted that the New York Mets are "serious" about dealing R.A. Dickey, clearly a sign that talks on a two-year extension aren't going well. The Rangers have interest in Dickey. But the bigger question may be whether they can match up. The Mets want young outfielders and catchers, something Texas doesn't have a surplus to give. However, the Mets are trying to get younger and re-build. Perhaps they'd take whatever top prospects they could and try to flip those for needs elsewhere. But if the Rangers don't get Greinke (and even if they do), Dickey would be a nice addition to the rotation with that knuckleball and his ability to eat innings.

* There's some buzz that the Tampa Bay Rays would trade James Shields, though only under the right conditions and that the asking price would be high (not as high as David Price, though). This is just me throwing something out, but I've always liked Shields. He's not Greinke, but has pitched more than 200 innings in each of the last six seasons. He was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts with 223 strikeouts and 58 walks last season. He'll be 31 in late December and will make $9 million this season and has a $12 million club option for 2014. But the package it would take might be too much.

* It appears the Diamondbacks haven't softened their demands for Justin Upton. They want a shortstop. At this point, it doesn't appear the Rangers have a shortstop they want to trade to Arizona.

* Brian Cashman talked for 15 minutes about Alex Rodriguez's balky hip. Interesting that the two big stories on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings involve the Yankees and the Red Sox (Napoli).

* Rangers PR gurus John Blake and Rich Rice participated in a Stand Up To Cancer news conference as all of the public relations folks in attendance at the Winter Meetings decided to sponsor the movement after some in their ranks have dealt with cancer. It was impressive to see all of them on stage with gray T-shirts. They are putting together an online auction to raise money. More on that here.

* Santa Claus is helping to guard the media work room. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson told me: "At least he knows who's naughty or nice." If that were true, would it be this crowded in here?