|The Dodgers are the favorites to land Zack Greinke, but the Rangers are still in the mix. (US Presswire)|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Zack Greinke derby is currently between the Dodgers and Rangers, with a great likelihood that one of those teams will win the services of the top free-agent pitcher in the market, people close to the situation say.
The Dodgers have been viewed as a fairly clear favorite for Greinke, but Texas is showing signs of determination, according to major-league sources.
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The Dodgers are seen as having an almost unlimited payroll, but people familiar with the happenings now suggest the derby could go either way. Not many teams could hope to go dollar-for-dollar against the Dodgers, but the Rangers are trying to do just that.
The bidding is said by major-league officials to be "quite high'' now, with two people pegging the dollar amount at about $160 million. And that's with the deal not done yet. There seems an extreme likelhood now that Greinke will not only set a record for righthanded pitcher but for any pitcher, which is currently held by CC Sabathia, who signed for $161 million and seven years with the Yankees.
Some have suggested they could even see the Greinke deal reaching toward the $175-million mark.
Greinke's representatives are said not to have named a likely timetable, so people on both teams anxiously await the verdict.
One person said he thought it's possible there might be a third team involved, but folks most familiar with the situation suggest the winner will be either the Dodgers or Rangers, and with the money as high as it is, it seems hard to imagine a late comer winning the day (though it happened last year when the Angels swooped in at the last minute to sign Albert Pujols).
The Nationals dropped out of the Greinke derby after signing Dan Haren to a $13-million, one-year deal, while the Angels and Braves look like long shots.
While the Greinke derby seems is Texas' priority at the moment, the Rangers are juggling many other possibilities.
The Greinke chase has even pushed the Josh Hamilton talks to the back burner, which explains why Hamilton left the Opryland Hotel Tuesday. One person who claimed knowledge of the situation said the Rangers' talks with Hamilton are at the moment "on hold.''
The Rangers are thought likely to be able to afford only one of the two players, so they'd likely have to lose out to the Dodgers on Greinke to get back to the Hamilton talks. The Rangers have a lot of different balls in the air, and they've also talked to the Rays about righthanded star pitcher James Shields.