Marco Scutaro has a new home—third base at AT&T Park, San Francisco: the Giants picked him up in a deal for minor league second baseman Charlie Culberson, most likely planning to put Scutaro at third with Pablo Sandoval likely headed for the disabled list. Scutaro does give the Giants a little more depth since he can play practically around the horn in the infield.
James Shields, however, doesn’t . . . yet . . . and depending upon whom you see or hear, there’s now as much of a chance that Tampa Bay won’t deal him as there is that they might. The skinny: Had the Los Angeles Angels not landed Zack Greinke they were the ones likely to make the big push to land Shields, but the Rays just might have been hesitant enough considering a) they’re only 3.5 games out of the wild card picture; b) Evan Longoria may return “any day now,” according to Jayson Stark; and, c) the Rays have more of a reputation for mentioning names in possible deals for intelligence gathering the better to make offseason trades.
And if the Rays think they have any chance to make the postseason still, they’re not likely to move any still-significant parts until or unless they’re overwhelmed by a possible deal. The possible Angel deal for Shields might have been one, since Jean Segura—the shortstop prospect who went to the Brewers in the Greinke deal—would have been a big plug-in for them.
The word from various places is that the Brewers went for the Angels in dealing Greinke because they prized Segura and weren’t quite impressed with the two pitching prospects the Texas Rangers offered in a potential Greinke deal. The Brewers wanted a particular pair of infield prospects (shortstop Jurickson Profar, third baseman Mike Olt) and the Rangers didn’t want to surrender them.
Similar places say the Chicago White Sox tried to work a three-team deal to get Greinke but general manager Ken Williams couldn’t come up with the viable third team.
Meanwhile, I wasn’t the only one thinking the Angels wouldn’t have pulled the proverbial trigger on a Greinke deal, surrendering Segura and two of their top pitching prospects, unless they were pretty sure about signing the former Cy Young Award winner (2009) long term. Stark cites the proverbial “longtime executive” predicting likewise: “He will sign with the Angels. And I think they had to believe that to make this deal. I don’t think any team, in today’s game, would give up three top prospects for a guy like that and not sign him. I’m sure [Angels owner Arte Moreno] will find a way to get him signed.” Even if, as Stark notes, the Angels are getting awful close to the luxury tax threshold.