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Rosenthal: the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Indians and Rays are discussing a potential mega deal

Dec 5, 2012, 8:32 AM EDT

Justin Upton AP AP

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that a potential blockbuster is brewing. Specifically, a mutli-team, multi-player trade that could involve Arizona, Cleveland, Texas and Tampa Bay with Justin Upton, James Shields and Asdrubal Cabrera being the biggest names involved.

Rosenthal — while cautioning that a deal is not imminent or even particularly likely at the moment — reports that one iteration of the trade would have Justin Upton heading to Texas, Asdrubal Cabrera to Arizona and the Indians getting “a package of young talent,” which could include the Rangers’ Mike Olt.

On paper this makes sense in that the Rangers — who are still mulling signing Josh Hamilton — want a bat, the Diamondbacks want a shortstop for Upton and the Indians need prospects.  Versions of the trade Rosenthal is hearing that include the Rays have James Shields being shipped out in exchange for a bat. He also says that simple two-team trades could easily spin out of this. It’s all very fluid, it seems.

But even if a monster deal like this doesn’t happen — and Rosenthal cautions that the odds are against it due to its difficulty — the mere fact that such talks are going down is instructive. Indeed, its evidence that the ability of teams to simply go out and sign what they need has been greatly curtailed due to a much more sparse free agent market thanks to teams locking up their core players at younger and younger ages.  The Rangers can’t simply add a reasonably-priced bat. The Diamondbacks can’t simply sign a starting shortstop.  Creativity is required.

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