"Hey Kevin, let's leak a rumor to Buster Olney that we're going after Felix Hernandez. C'mon, it'll be fun!"
Remember when we promised a dull and boring Winter Meetings week? So much for that. Arizona's name keeps popping up in the rumor mill, as the team tries to solidify its bench and starting rotation. For those living under a rock - or, I guess, those without a Twitter account whose follow list is 98% baseball-related - follow us after the break to see who the D-backs have been linked to and what rumors we can mindlessly speculate on for the next three hours until a new one pops up for us to brutally over-analyze. I'll try to keep this strictly according to prominent sources in the game who I believe are reliable, so as to avoid any needless rumor-starting or speculation.
- First up, Arizona remains interested in bringing back first baseman Lyle Overbay. The D-backs were hoping to get things settled with Overbay quickly, offering him a one-year contract on Monday (link: Nick Piecoro's Twitter) and expecting to have resolution that night. Obviously, that hasn't happened. Overbay's representatives are reportedly still looking around for more playing time, but Arizona seems confident that he'll return. The latest we've heard on the Overbay front was yesterday, when Nick P basically told us that nothing had changed.
- Arizona was briefly linked to the Rockies' Ian Stewart, initially by Jon Heyman, he-who-is-formerly-of-SI. However, as both Steve Gilbert and Nick Piecoro tell us, any further progress on a Stewart acquisition hinges on Arizona failing to re-sign Overbay, who remains a higher priority than Stewart. Stewart remains heavily linked to the Cubs, with Tyler Colvin's name coming up in the "whaaa?" category of possible pieces headed back to Colorado.
- Today, Arizona was linked to a new pair of potential rotation arms, the Oakland duo of Gio Gonzalez and, later on, Trevor Cahill. Gonzalez's name was first seriously linked to the D-backs in the early afternoon, according to Bob Nightengale, but, according to Nick Piecoro, Arizona was merely "kicking the tires" on Gonzalez, and the team didn't expect it to go much further. It seems that the hang-up with Gonzalez was Oakland's demand for left-hander Tyler Skaggs in return, as Ken Rosenthal later mentioned that Arizona had moved on to Cahill, as acquiring him would not cost the club Skaggs. John Gambadoro confirmed the interest in both Cahill and Gonzalez. However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post seems to believe that Gio will not be moved at the meetings, as the A's are looking for a package similar to the Haren-to-Arizona haul, which nobody has approached yet.
- One name who has been almost constantly, albeit lukewarmly, linked to the D-backs is right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. As early as Monday, Arizona was said to be strongly considering Kuroda as an alternative to lefty Joe Saunders to fill out the D-backs rotation, and Kuroda remains on the D-backs radar, with the Rosenthal link above (here it is again) mentioning that Kuroda was still very much within the team's sights. A rather random and unaccompanied update from "@LASports" indicates that discussions "might" be getting serious between the team and Kuroda, which should probably be taken with a Mount Vesuvius-sized pile of salt.
- What about that one guy, whatshisname, the dude who pitched for us last year? Oh, right, Joe Saunders. Well, Arizona seemed willing to put this whole rotation drama behind them early on in the meetings with a two-year offer to Saunders' camp on Monday, with the team holding firm to its stance of not going through arbitration with Saunders. However, it seems that the offer was rebuffed and Saunders' representatives submitted a counteroffer, with further negotiations to come. We've heard almost nothing of Saunders since, so, well, who knows what's going on between him and the D-backs.
So, basically, Arizona is linked to seven players with no deals signed and only vague ideas of what might actually materialize (well, except for the mostly-unreported-for-a-reason Joe Martinez signing). Business as usual at the Winter Meetings, I see.