Winter Meetings 2012: Four-Team Blockbuster Trade in the Works

By Michael Terrill
Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 MLB Winter Meetings are about to heat up in Nashville, Tennessee as a four-team blockbuster trade is in the works and could go down at any moment.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers appear ready to part ways with top players in order to get an edge in their respective divisions. Arizona’s right fielder Justin Upton, Cleveland’s shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, Tampa Bay’s starting pitcher James Shields and what appears to be Texas’ prospects could all be on the move before the third day of the winter meetings end. Other players are likely to be involved in the trade, as well.

The Diamondbacks have wanted to get rid of Upton’s enormous contract for several weeks now and it was merely a matter of time before they struck a deal with an opposing team. Considering the 25-year-old still has four years remaining on his $51.25 million, six-year contract, it was a no-brainer for Arizona to try and get some decent players for him.

There has also been some news within the last few days that the Indians want to move Cabrera in an attempt to acquire pitching in return. This could very well happen in the four-team trade in which Cleveland would get the rights to either Shields or talented Rangers’ pitching prospects. Cabrera had a down year compared to his career-high 2011 season, but still had very good overall numbers for a shortstop in 2012.

For the Rays to part ways with Shields would be a bit of a surprise considering how well he has played over the last two years. However, if the team can land a big name such as Upton or Cabrera then it would certainly be worth it to them. Shields posted a 15-10 record with a 3.52 ERA and 223 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings this past season.

Although anything can happen, this blockbuster trade is not close at the moment but that does not mean the moving parts are not already in place. The fact is trades involving four teams can be very difficult in baseball and it is more likely that two groups of two teams will trade with each other to keep things simple.

The most likely trade as of right now is an assortment of Texas’ prospects to Cleveland, Upton to the Rangers and Cabrera to Arizona. The only prospect that would not leave Texas is their Grade A shortstop Jurickson Profar, who the Rangers will not part ways with for anyone.

Make sure to keep checking back with Rant Sports for all breaking news on the 2012 winter meetings.

Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.

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