Look, I'm as appreciative of the renewed calls for expanded instant replay as anyone else, and I'm really digging some of the great articles being written last night's debacle in Atlanta (including Jeff Passan's scathing assault on the commissioner's office for dilly-dallying about on the issue) ... but if a blatantly blown call on the 27th out of a perfect game wasn't enough to effectuate any kind of meaningful change, what makes anyone think that last night is going to be the catalyst?
● According to sources, the Mets are "making progress in their negotiations" with the Rangers and Giants on Carlos Beltran, while the Braves continue to linger around on the periphery; other sources suggest that the Rangers are offering a greater number of players, whereas the Giants are offering fewer players but more quality; as of Tuesday, the Mets were said to have backed off their demands for "A-level prospects" and were seeking a lower-grade multi-player package, with one official from a team involved in the negotiations remarking that the Mets "will get a good return, but not a headline good return"; the Rangers, meanwhile, are supposedly expressing surprise at their front-runner status in the Beltran sweepstakes, as they still believe he will remain in the National League (Buster Olney, ESPN.com; Ken Rosenthal, Twitter; Joel Sherman, New York Post; T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
[Meanwhile, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports this morning that Mets scouts "were stationed at just about every Rangers minor league outpost" over the last few days, and were said to be finding enough for the Mets to want to deal with the Rangers. Well, duh. Per Evan Grant, the Mets, Padres, and White Sox all had scouts in attendance at Robbie Erlin's start last night at Double-A Frisco, which does lead me to wonder if the Rangers' interest on this front is so strong that they would consider blinking and move Erlin in something closer to a cash-neutral deal (since a Beltran-for-Erlin swap would kind of be pushing things from the Rangers' perspective, to the extent that the Mets would almost certainly be kicking cash into such a deal). This is definitely the rumor of the moment.]
● Per FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox -- whose post-season odds have slipped to just 18.6 percent as of this morning -- are close to a deal that will send right-hander Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for setup man Jason Frasor and other players, with a potential (but undisclosed) cash component); furthermore, White Sox starters John Danks and Gavin Floyd are also said to be available for trade now (Twitter)
[Given that Toronto is out of contention, that Jackson deal smacks of Toronto turning around and dealing him to a contending team ... but that isn't of nearly as much interest to me at the moment as Danks' potential availability. It was put out there two weeks ago by ESPN.com's Jason Churchill that the Rangers would be an interested party if Danks were to be made available, and, if true, I would surmise that Texas would make a fairly aggressive play on him. The peripherals and results have slipped a bit this year, but he's everything that this organization covets -- left-handed, cutter-wielding, durable, and a No. 2-caliber or borderline No. 1-caliber starter on a first-division team when he's at his best -- and perhaps the Rangers' best realistic shot at upgrading the rotation. You know, if he's actually available.]
● According to Joel Sherman, there is growing sentiment within the industry that the Rockies are not just seriously listening to offers on Ubaldo Jimenez, but actually want to move him before Sunday's deadline, with the Rangers still being one of about a half-dozen teams with verified interest; however, other writers/executives continue to suggest a deal is unlikely, with Colorado demanding "three sure-thing young players, including one pitcher who goes into their rotation immediately (New York Post; Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)
[If my memory serves me correctly, Jon Paul Morosi and Sherman have been the most aggressive in suggesting a deal might get done, whereas nearly all of their peers have pegged the chances of a deal getting done at somewhere around 25 percent or less. At this point, it's fairly difficult to imagine that the Rockies will be able cajole somebody into making a deal unless they back off their demands, and the Rockies simply don't have the motivation to do that -- unless there's something afoot that we don't know about. Interestingly, the previous New York Post report that Jimenez is miffed at his contractual situation has now been paired with talk that Jimenez "has some disconnect" with Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca.]