T.R. Sullivan today indicates the trade is still stalling over the inclusion of John Danks. Sullivan says that the Rangers have offered Josh Rupe instead of Diamond or Danks, and is trying to find a way to get the deal done without giving up one of the Ds.
Interestingly, Sullivan's article suggests that the Marlins want either Diamond or Danks, and that the Rangers would be choosing to keep Diamond over Danks. Danks is generally thought to have the higher ceiling, but he's also younger and farther away. Adding Beckett with a deal like this puts the team in "win now" mode, with a two-year window of opportunity (the time before Beckett hits free agency), and my guess is that Diamond is the more likely pitcher to stay because he's perceived as being likely to contribute in the next two years, while Danks isn't.
Sullivan also says that there has been talk of including Juan Pierre in the deal, but that seems to be shelved now. And that's fine with me...Pierre's defense in center doesn't grade out that well, and he's not anything special as a leadoff hitter.
Why is Blalock available? Well, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports something I hadn't read before:
A quiet type, Blalock also clashed with Rangers manager Buck Showalter. Some in the organization were critical of Blalock's off-field habits.
Both those things are news to me. And it is troubling to me, as well...yet another guy who the team was supposed to build around who can't get along with the manager.
It would also shed some light on why Blalock wasn't part of that late season meeting that included Dellucci and DeRosa, along with Young and Teixeira.
The Sun-Sentinel also quotes sources as saying that "nothing is imminent."
The Miami Herald, on the other hand, says a deal is close, and that the deal was put together by Tom Hicks and Jeffrey Loria at the owners meetings.
Sullivan touches on Hicks involvement in his S-T article:
Daniels and Florida general manager Larry Beinfest have talked about this deal since the GM meetings earlier this month. The process was accelerated when Tom Hicks and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria discussed it at the owners' meetings last week in Milwaukee.
Hicks is eager to acquire Beckett, 25, a right-hander from Spring who has a ranch in Texas and has the potential to be a No. 1 starter.
Whenever Hicks starts getting involved in these things, I get worried. The fact that Sullivan says that Hicks -- rather than Daniels, or Buck, or Conners, or any of the "baseball people" -- is eager to get Beckett has me worried. Hicks needs to stay out of this and let his baseball people do their jobs.