The Los Angeles Angels have jumped into the race for Brewers star righthander Zack Greinke and are likely to battle their division rival Texas Rangers and others for Greinke -- assuming he becomes available.
The Braves and Orioles also are interested in Greinke, who is expected to be one of the top two pitchers on the trade market this July.
The Braves have been seen as a team that makes sense for Greinke. But the Angels are also noted by a person close to Greinke as being "a perfect fit.''
The Rangers, who have the most chips to deal, also have interest in star lefthander Cole Hamels as a trade target, and actually may prefer Hamels. The Angels' top two chips may be outfielder Peter Bourjos and pitcher Garrett Richards, but the Rangers have many young players they could offer.
There is no word yet that the Brewers are willing to trade Greinke, but team officials will monitor the club's progress over the next week to 10 days to determine whether they will become sellers. The Brewers have said that their biggest hope is to re-sign Greinke, but there has been no evidence of progress in talks since spring training.
The Angels, long known as under-the-radar dealers, made two huge purchases this winter in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, but may yet have some payroll flexibility as both Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have club options for 2013. Haren's option is for $15.5 million and Santana's $13 million.
Haren is currently on the disabled list with a back issue after trying to pitch through it, and his option is no certainty considering his health situation. The Angels are expected to decline Santana's option barring a major turnaround. Santana has been a major disappointment this year.
Greinke's trade value may be somewhat limited by his status as a free agent after the year, but he could provide a jolt to a contender, and the Angels have worked their way into a wild-card position after struggling early. It isn't known whether the Angels are also eyeing Hamels, but Hamels is said to have several teams showing interest, as well. Both Greinke and Hamels can be free agents after the year.