8:15 p.m.: Updating an earlier item, the contract that Joe Blanton will sign with the Angels is reportedly for two years ant $15 million — less than a tenth of what some team is expected to commit to Zack Greinke. Blanton’s deal does reportedly contain some sort of option on a third year.
That update on Blanton is via Jon Heyman.
8:02 p.m.: We’re beginning to learn more about the Josh Hamilton negotiations.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Rangers are perfectly willing to go four years on Hamilton, but a fifth year is out of the question.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising, as most everyone agrees that Hamilton is a premium talent, but beyond his history of addiction his recent injury history has teams wondering how well he’ll hold up as he enters his mid-30s.
7:50 p.m.: The Rockies always need pitching, and in this case they’ve brought in a blast from the past.
According to Jerry Crasnick, Colorado has agreed to a one-year deal with Jeff Francis, the former 2002 first-round draft pick by the club. Francis has pitched his entire career in the thin air of Coors Field except for a one-year sting with the Royals in 2011.
7:40 p.m.: We have no idea if this is an admission they’re out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, but the Angels have added more pitching.
According to the L.A. Times’ Mike DiGiovanna, the Angels are close to signing former Dodgers, Phillies and Athletics starter Joe Blanton.
Throughout his career Blanton has been mostly an innings-eater, never starting less than 28 games since 2004. His overall numbers are middling, however, with a career ERA of 4.37 and WHIP of 1.34.
7:10 p.m.: A few more Red Sox notes to pass along, via ESPN’s Gordon Edes.
According to Edes, one can all but rule out the Red Sox trading Jacoby Ellsbury. From Ben Cherington, the team is looking to still add to the roster, not subtract from it.
On top of that, the Sox have probably met personally with Josh Hamilton. Cherington confirmed to Edes that he met with a player, but didn’t confirm who. This may well just be due diligence on the part of the Red Sox (Edes identifies the Mariners as a more likely spot for Hamilton if Texas falls through), but it does mean the team has seriously considered the enigmatic outfielder.
7 p.m.: We’ve already heard some of the rumors, and yes, the Yankees do have interest in Kevin Youkilis.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees did meet with Youkilis’ agent, possibly identifying him as someone to replace Alex Rodriguez while the latter is out with recovering from hip surgery to begin the season.
Rosenthal warns that the meeting was just part of business as usual (“kicking the tires” if you will), but it does confirm that there’s been contact between the two parties.
6:37 p.m.: So ESPN’s Pedro Gomez caught up with Dustin Pedroia (who is apparently also in Nashville?), and Sox fans should like what he has to say.
“I love [the Red Sox’ acquisitions],” Pedroia told Gomez. “We’re getting baseball players. They’ll fit right in. Those guys love to get after it.”
6:20 p.m.: And left-handed pitchers continue to change hands.
As a relatively minor note, according to Jon Heyman the Pirates just acquired lefty Andrew Oliver from the Tigers — we’re not sure what Detroit received in return.
Oliver is 25 and hasn’t really established himself in the big leagues, yet, but pitched well in the low minor leagues before running into some trouble the last couple years at Triple-A Toledo.
6:15 p.m.: Suffice to say, the numbers being floated around Zack Greinke’s name are getting out of hand.
The most-cited report has Greinke potentially bringing in more money over the course of his deal than CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 contract.
Well, one NESN scribe believes that not only is this prospective Greinke contract bad, but it’s one of the worst in the history of baseball, artificially inflated by a free-agent market missing top-tier starting pitching. Even for deep-pocketed teams like the Dodgers and Rangers, signing Greinke for the kind of money being proposed isn’t good business.
Check out the opinion by following the link above.
5:21 p.m.: Conventional wisdom says that the Zack Greinke sweepstakes is down to the Dodgers and Rangers — but apparently that is not the case.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia has confirmed to ESPN’s Jim Bowden that the team is still right in the middle of the negotiations.
Although the Angels may well have serious financial restrictions after last winter’s spending spree of C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, they have much incentive to avoid seeing Greinke land in Texas or the other side of Southern California. If Greinke went to the Dodgers they’d be losing him to their territorial rival, while Greinke to Texas would make things that much more difficult in the AL West.
5:10 p.m.: They may not be sexy signings, but bullpens are important, and adding arms at this time of the year could play a big role later on. On that note, there are a couple imminent relief-pitching signings to note.
The first is that, according to Jon Morosi, the Cardinals have inked left-handed reliever Randy Choate. Choate has appeared in more than 80 games in two of the last three seasons, so he’s a rubber arm coming out of the pen.
In continuing news on southpaw relievers, the Angels are close with Sean Burnett, according to Ken Rosenthal. Burnett has pitched for the Washington Nationals the last four seasons, posting a 2.38 ERA in 70 games in 2012.
4:50 p.m.: Could a Kevin Youkilis-Terry Francona reunion be in the cards?
According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Indians are stepping up their intensity in talks with Youkilis. The Tribe would reportedly love to land him for first base.
4:47 p.m.: Many assumed the Red Sox would be out on Nick Swisher, but Ken Rosenthal still lists them as a potential suitor.
According to Rosenthal, five teams have interest — or potential interest — in Swisher. Those teams are the Red Sox, Indians, Mariners, Orioles and Giants.
As Rosenthal points out, however, the Red Sox would have to move Jacoby Ellsbury before signing Swisher.
4:42 p.m.: The Yankees have not only been relatively quiet thus far, but they’ve lost out on some guys. Now, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Yanks may have trouble bringing back Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez, who came up big in the postseason for New York, is drawing interest from the Mariners, Rangers and Phillies.
3:23 p.m.: We mentioned an earlier report by Danny Knobler stating that the Brewers have considered trading Corey Hart. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Brewers are not actively looking to trade him, though, and would have to be overwhelmed in order to do so.
3:18 p.m.: Ken Rosenthal notes that the Royals, Brewers and Red Sox have all showed interest in Ryan Dempster, but the Angels’ current level of interest remains unclear.
The Royals previously offered Dempster a two-year deal worth $26 million but balked at offering a third year, according to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. There’s reportedly no indication that either side has changed its stance.
3:06 p.m.: There have been a lot of rumors concerning R.A. Dickey throughout the winter meetings. And while he could end up staying put in New York, there also exists the possibility that he gets dealt.
According to David Lennon of Newsday, the Mets are sitting on a number of potential deals for Dickey, and if a team caves and adds a piece, a trade could get done quickly. We shall see.
3:01 p.m.: The Royals would love to add some pitching, but as Danny Knobler points out, they’ll likely have to shed some salary in order to sign a big name free agent. Kansas City has reportedly stayed in touch with both Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse, though.
2:47 p.m.: Those looking for a power bat via trade might be in luck.
CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reports that the Brewers have considered trading Corey Hart to free up money for their pitching search. As of right now, the Brew Crew simply don’t have the cash flow to become major players in the pitching market.
Hart, who will turn 31 before Opening Day, smacked 30 home runs in 149 games last season. The two-time All-Star had a career-high 31 home runs and 102 RBIs in 2010.
2:35 p.m.: Another third base option is off the market.
Eric Chavez, who reportedly drew interest from both the Red Sox and Yankees, has signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Diamondbacks, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com.
Chavez played well in a bench role with the Yankees last season. With the Bronx Bombers still in need of a third baseman now that Alex Rodriguez is on the shelf, keeping Chavez around seemed like a good idea. However, just as they lost out on Jeff Keppinger earlier today, they’ve lost out on the soon-to-be 35-year-old Chavez.
We’ll see if the Yankees now ramp up their effort to sign Kevin Youkilis, who has also been linked to New York.
2:12 p.m.: Earlier we mentioned a report indicating that the Indians are interested in Nick Swisher. Apparently, their new skipper has been proactive in the recruiting process.
Terry Francona called Swisher to pitch the Tribe to the outfielder/first baseman, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Orioles and Mariners are also believed to be in on Swisher, although Seattle is reportedly also nearing a deal with Jason Bay.
2:08 p.m.: Jason Bay might be switching coasts very soon. According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi, Bay is “close” to a deal with the Mariners.
2:04 p.m.: Curt Schilling may have just caused some serious Twitter buzz with a recent tweet.
Schilling tweeted, “Phillies call Boston, Lee for Ellsbury.” The former big league hurler quickly clarified, however, that he was simply asking for it to happen, rather than reporting such.
2:01 p.m.: According to Jon Heyman, there’s still a gap when it comes to R.A. Dickey’s contract talks with the Mets. The veteran is reportedly seeking a two-year deal worth $30 million, while the Mets are offering two years and $20 million.
1:56 p.m.: Nate McLouth has really fallen off in recent years, but he was a respectable outfielder down the stretch for the Orioles in 2012. Apparently, he showed enough to warrant another year in Baltimore.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, McLouth has agreed to a one-year deal with the O’s. The 31-year-old will reportedly receive $2 million, plus $500,000 in bonuses.
1:36 p.m.: It seems fairly obvious, but CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reports that the Red Sox are likely now out on Nick Swisher and Cody Ross unless they trade Jacoby Ellsbury.
1:27 p.m.: Buster Olney reports that the Yankees have been exchanging trade proposals with other teams about players, including Curtis Granderson. As Olney points it, though, this is simply “standard operating procedure.”
The Yankees may now be forced to get more aggressive in their pursuit of a third baseman. According to Jon Heyman, Jeff Keppinger — who the Yankees reportedly wanted — has signed a three-year deal with the White Sox.
1:23 p.m.: Ryan Dempster continues to be an intriguing pitcher throughout all of this. According to Ken Rosenthal, the 35-year-old — who pitched well at the beginning of 2012 before sputtering down the stretch — is seeking a three-year deal.
1:19 p.m.: FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers are confident in their pursuit of Justin Upton, but that there’s still a “ways to go” before a deal. It’s also reportedly unclear how many teams would be involved in any such trade.
1:15 p.m.: Quick side note: The Mets formally announced today that they have signed David Wright to a contract extension.
12:40 p.m.: The Rangers continue to be very active down in Nashville. They’ve been linked to a number of names, and according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, it appears Texas is “working hard” to obtain Justin Upton.
Heyman reports that three- and four-team deals are being discussed at the moment. Stay tuned.
12:38 p.m.: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Indians, who missed out on Shane Victorino, are one of the teams involved in the Nick Swisher talks.
12:35 p.m.: R.A. Dickey’s name continues to come up, although now it’s in talks about him remaining with the Mets.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that he ran into Dickey, and the veteran knuckleballer said that he’s “inching along” toward a deal with the Mets.
12:33 p.m.: The Mariners like speedy outfielder Michael Bourn very much, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.
The Phillies and Rangers are also believed to be interested, although as Heyman points out, the Rangers have a lot going on right now. Texas has also been linked to Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke.
12:24 p.m.: The Red Sox’ shortstop position remains unclear, as there are some who are skeptical about whether or not Jose Iglesias is ready offensively. That could be why the Sox reportedly have their sights set on a certain free agent.
The Red Sox continue to show interest in Stephen Drew, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. This isn’t the first time Boston has been linked to Drew — brother of former Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew — but the continued speculation shows that Ben Cherington and Co. might not be 100 percent ready to hand the everyday reins over to Iglesias.
MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Drew figures to land a two-year deal, which could rule out the Tigers as potential suitors.
11:53 a.m.: The D-Backs, Rangers, Indians and Rays have reopened talks of a potential four-way deal involving the likes of Justin Upton, James Shields and Asdrubal Cabrera, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
11:46 a.m.: It’s been more than 15 years since the Red Sox traded Carl Pavano to the Montreal Expos in a deal that brought Pedro Martinez to Boston. Perhaps they’re ready to revisit a reunion.
According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, five teams are interested in Pavano, and the Red Sox have “checked in” on the 36-year-old right-hander.
Pavano, drafted by Boston in 1994, has spent the past three-plus seasons in Minnesota. He went 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA in just 11 starts in 2012.
11:37 a.m.: Olney also reports that the price for Shin-Soo Choo is “high,” and that the price for Asdrubal Cabrera is “even higher.”
11:35 a.m.: ESPN’s Buster Olney is now also reporting that the Red Sox are listening to offers for both Ellsbury and Lester. However, he reports that the Sox are not looking to move them unless teams overpay.
11:22 a.m.: As mentioned, it looks like the Dodgers and Rangers are considered the big players in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes. According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, the “big buzz” down in Nashville today is to watch out for the Rangers in that bidding war.
11:13 a.m.: The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo has apparently been asking around about the Jacoby Ellsbury trade rumors, and he reports that there is a feeling down in Nashville that Ellsbury will be tough to deal because teams have no idea if they can sign him.
11:08 a.m.: An interesting report surfaced Tuesday that linked Kevin Youkilis to the Yankees. Well, apparently the Bronx Bombers aren’t the only ones intrigued by Youk.
Youkilis has multiple contract offers on the table, according to WEEI.com’s Alex Speier.
11:03 a.m.: What will be the next domino to fall for the Red Sox? That’s a burning question throughout Boston this morning.
The Sox are apparently remaining very active down in Nashville. According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, Boston is willing to discuss just about anyone, including Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester.
The Ellsbury rumor is one that floated around on Tuesday, but the inclusion of Lester in any deal remains surprising, especially considering the question marks surrounding the Red Sox’ rotation.
10:56 a.m.: Jason Bay could present a low-risk, high-reward option for a team seeking outfield help, and according to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, the 34-year-old slugger is nearing a decision.
Brown lists the Indians, Mariners and a couple of other teams as possibilities. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Indians may be ahead for Bay, while the Mariners are still a factor and the Cubs are on the periphery.
10:52 a.m.: Meanwhile, one of the Mets’ NL East rivals, the Atlanta Braves, continue to explore a number of options.
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves have inquired about some fairly big names via trade, including Justin Upton, Dexter Fowler, Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Gordon.
10:48 a.m.: Here’s a new pitching name for you: Johan Santana.
According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Mets would be willing to eat some money in order to deal the veteran left-hander. However, to this point, they’ve apparently received no inquiries.
10:43 a.m.: We mentioned earlier that Asdrubal Cabrera’s name has reportedly come up in trade talks, with the Indians looking to move him in exchange for less expensive pieces. Now, it appears there could be something in the works between Cleveland and Arizona.
MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince reports that the Indians and D-Backs have discussed the framework of a deal centering around Cabrera and pitcher Trevor Bauer. The two teams have reportedly discussed such a deal for two weeks, and talks have apparently escalated.
According to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler, one executive revealed that the discussions have “some legs,” although a deal is still considered a “long shot.”
10:24 a.m.: Outfielder Nate Schierholtz was recently nontendered by the Phillies, but according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the 28-year-old is making “good progress” toward his next deal.
Olney reports that the Yankees are the early front-runners in the Schierholtz talks.
Schierholtz hit .257 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in 241 at-bats split between San Francisco and Philadelphia in 2012.
10:17 a.m.: The Twins have already traded away Denard Span, but they might not be done wheeling and dealing.
Minnesota is currently gauging interest in four-time All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
The Orioles are reportedly one of the teams contacted by the Twins, who are seeking young pitching in return for the 31-year-old.
10:02 a.m.: Another interesting tidbit from Edes’ article is the Red Sox’ stance on Josh Hamilton, who remains the most prized position player on the open market.
Edes wrote that, according to a Sox source, the club shouldn’t be counted out of the running for Hamilton, even in the wake of the Shane Victorino signing. Of course, signing Hamilton would likely spell the end of Jacoby Ellsbury’s tenure in Boston.
9:59 a.m.: ESPN.com’s Gordon Edes on Wednesday morning wrote about the Red Sox’ need for starting pitching, and he speculated how they could go about obtaining such.
Edes wrote that the Sox won’t engage in a bidding war for the top pitching prizes on the market (Greinke, Sanchez, Lohse), but he wonders if the Rangers could deal a hurler if they land Greinke and fail to re-sign Josh Hamilton. Edes also wonders if the Dodgers could part ways with a pitcher if they win the Greinke sweepstakes.
9:52 a.m.: Buster Olney touched on Jacoby Ellsbury in an ESPN Insider column this morning, and he said that “because of circumstances, there would appear to be an extremely limited market for him if the Red Sox decide to trade him for pitching this winter.”
One team that we might be able to write off as a potential suitor for Ellsbury is Philadelphia. According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox and Phillies have not engaged in any talks regarding Ellsbury.
9:45 a.m.: Zack Greinke is going to get paid. It’s just a matter of which team is going to throw the most cash in his direction.
Right now, it looks like the Greinke sweepstakes could come down to the Dodgers and Rangers. According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, there is a belief that one of those two teams will sign the coveted right-hander.
The Dodgers have long been considered the favorites to land Greinke, but according to Heyman, the Rangers are showing signs of determination.
9:41 a.m.: If the Yankees really do want Jeff Keppinger, they’ll have some competition. According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox are also in on the free-agent infielder.
9:39 a.m.: There’s been a lot of talk that the Rays could deal pitching in an effort to bolster their suspect lineup. If they do, it looks like they could trade James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson, while hanging on to David Price.
CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reports that teams who have had discussions with the Rays have come away thinking that Tampa is much more open to trading away Shields or Hellickson than Price. That makes sense in that Price is not only one of the game’s premier young hurlers (and left-handed, to boot), but he’s also three years away from free agency.
9:21 a.m.: R.A. Dickey’s name will likely continue to be trotted out in trade rumors over the next couple of days, but don’t expect the Mets to rush into anything.
“Most of these types of decisions you lose sleep over,” one Mets executive reportedly told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “This is one of those where you don’t. We have only good options.”
The Mets have reportedly told Dickey what they are willing to do in a contract extension, and have told teams interested in acquiring the 38-year-old what types of players it will take.
Currently, Dickey is under contract with the Mets for $5 million in 2013 — a bargain for a reigning Cy Young award winner.
9:13 a.m.: It’s worth pointing out that Josh Hamilton sent out a tweet on Tuesday night that said, “heading home!!” Perhaps this means we won’t see the prized outfielder sign with a team during the next two days.
If that’s the case, all eyes will be on Zack Greinke, who is reportedly drawing interest from the Rangers and Dodgers, and is expected to net a record-setting contract.
9:06 a.m.: The Yankees have an obvious need at third base now that Alex Rodriguez will be out for an extended period of time because of hip surgery. The name that keeps coming up is Jeff Keppinger.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Yankees “really want” Keppinger, and that the free-agent infielder seems to have become popular. Keppinger reportedly could fetch a three-year deal worth $13 million or more.
9:02 a.m.: It’ll be interesting to see if the Red Sox address their pitching needs at some point during the next two days.
The Sox have been linked to Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse and Anibal Sanchez, all of whom are free agents, but there’s also a juicy rumor floating around that Boston could deal away Jacoby Ellsbury. The assumption is that if the Red Sox were to deal Ellsbury, it would be done to net them pitching.
It must be noted, however, that dealing Ellsbury seems like pure speculation at this point. Still, it’s worth monitoring.
8:45 a.m.: Will this year’s winter meetings product a blockbuster trade? Well, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, one could be in the works.
According to Rosenthal, a variety of three-, four- and even five-team trades are possible during the next two days in Nashville. At the forefront of those rumors are the Diamondbacks, Indians, Rangers and Rays.
The same principal players are reportedly being tossed around in the negotiations, and the list includes Justin Upton, Asdrubal Cabrera, James Shields and possible some Rangers prospects.
Those are some big time names, and while Rosenthal notes that no deal is close, it’s apparent what each team is looking to accomplish with such a megadeal. The Rangers reportedly want Upton, while the Diamondbacks want a shortstop, the Indians want younger pieces and the Rays want to trade pitching for offense.
8 a.m. ET: Day 1 of the winter meetings in Nashville was a little slow, but the action began in earnest on Day 2.
The Red Sox continued to be the most active team on the free-agent market so far this offseason. They had already hauled in Mike Napoli, and on Tuesday, they agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract — mirroring that of Napoli — with outfielder Shane Victorino. The former Phillie and Dodger figures to slot into right field for the Sox.
But then again, Cody Ross is still out there, and Boston hasn’t ruled him out yet. Likewise, word also got out that the Sox are at least open to the idea of trading Jacoby Ellsbury. So Victorino’s versatility could come into play, and all the pieces of the Red Sox’ offseason are still very much fluid.
Elsewhere, Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke — the two prizes of this year’s free-agent class — are still out there. On Tuesday, the Dodgers emerged as the clear front-runners for Greinke, but the Rangers are apparently still in on both players.
Marco Scutaro reportedly signed a three-year, $20 million deal with the Giants, giving them stability at shortstop moving forward. Dan Haren signed with the Washington Nationals on a one-year agreement, bolstering their starting rotation. And, at the very end of Tuesday, the Marlins flipped the recently acquired Yunel Escobar to Florida’s other team, the Tampa Bay Rays.
What does Wednesday have in store? Well, stick with us here at NESN.com for your Winter Meetings Day 3 Live Blog. We’ll have it all covered for you.