Cross Cincinnati Reds off list of potential Tampa Bay Rays trade partners after deal with San Diego Padres

The Padres may be willing to deal top prospect Anthony Rizzo, a first baseman who would seem to fit the Rays’ needs.

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The Padres may be willing to deal top prospect Anthony Rizzo, a first baseman who would seem to fit the Rays’ needs.

The market for the Rays to trade one of their starters was reshaped and potentially redefined Saturday when the Reds paid a hefty price — four players, including promising first baseman Yonder Alonso — to acquire right-hander Mat Latos from San Diego.

The deal, which also includes catcher Yasmani Grandal, starter Edinson Volquez and relief prospect Brad Boxberger, takes the Reds off the Rays' list of potential trade partners.

But it could put the Padres in play. They now have two young, powerful first basemen in Alonso and Anthony Rizzo, and are likely to trade one.

Because it's likely the Rays already discussed Alonso, a right-hander who is better with his bat than glove, in talks with the Reds, Rizzo, a 22-year-old lefty slugger, could emerge as an interesting possibility. The Rays need a first baseman and prefer a left-hander with a smooth glove. The Padres' top prospect, per Baseball America, Rizzo hit .331 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs in 93 games at Triple-A Tucson in 2011, though he hit .141 with one homer and nine RBIs in 29 big-league games.

The Rays have a surplus of starting pitchers and could offer Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann to the Padres for a package headlined by Rizzo. The hefty amount the Reds paid for Latos could also increase the price the Rays could seek for top starters James Shields or David Price.

LOBATON OUT: Rays catcher Jose Lobaton, the leading candidate to share time with Jose Molina, likely won't return to winter ball in Venezuela, having been sidelined since late November due to a sore right arm. The Rays had Lobaton — who told Venezuelan media he had "weakness" in his shoulder — checked and are confident he'll be okay with rest. Lobaton hit .187 in 18 games. Robinson Chirinos, the other catching candidate, has been sidelined since October with a fractured wrist.

Phils' Rollins stays put

PHILADELPHIA — Jimmy Rollins is bringing his swagger back to the Phillies.

The shortstop agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract with Philadelphia that includes a vesting option for a fourth year, the Associated Press reported. The agreement is pending a physical.

"Gotta deal with me for 3 (4) more years!" Rollins wrote on Twitter.

Rollins is a three-time All-Star and the 2007 National League MVP. He has spent his career with the Phillies after being selected in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft and was a free agent for the first time.

Rollins, 33, sought at least a five-year deal. The Phillies didn't want to go that long and were able to reach an agreement after the market for Rollins lessened.

DARVISH BIDDING: The winning bid for the right to negotiate with Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish came in around $48 million, MLB.com reported. The Blue Jays were the high bidder, the New York Post reported; MLB hasn't announced the team. Darvish's team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, has until Tuesday to accept the bid. The Rays were not among the teams that bid on Darvish, considered the best pitcher in the Japanese pro leagues.

BREWERS: The club had the winning $2.5 million bid on Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, 29, a three-time Central League batting champion, and have 30 days to work out a contract.

MARINERS: The team is near a one-year agreement with left-handed reliever George Sherrill, 34, that would be worth $1.1 million plus incentives.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Cross Cincinnati Reds off list of potential Tampa Bay Rays trade partners after deal with San Diego Padres 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:36pm]

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