The Arizona Diamondbacks have talked about trading an outfielder for virtually the entire offseason.
Their efforts appear to be finally reaching a conclusion.
The D-Backs are weighing an offer for right fielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves, according to major-league sources. But they renewed contact with the Orioles on Wednesday about a possible deal for left fielder Jason Kubel, and are weighing their options, sources said.
As of Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Diamondbacks stood a better chance of sending Upton to the Braves than Kubel to the Orioles, sources said. It was unclear whether other clubs were involved on either player, and to what extent.
Right-hander Julio Teheran, shortstop Nick Ahmed and catcher-outfielder Evan Gattis are among the players who could go from the Braves to the Diamondbacks, though Atlantas exact offer is not known.
Teheran, who turns 22 on Sunday, is the Braves No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America. Gattis power intrigues Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, a rival executive said.
Towers is going on vacation to Africa on Friday. He would prefer to move either Upton or Kubel by then but is not treating the start of his trip as a deadline, sources said.
Upton, 25, would join his older brother, center fielder B.J. Upton, 28, and right fielder Jason Heyward, 23, to give one of the Braves one of the best outfields in baseball for at least the next three years.
The Braves are deep in young pitching that would appeal to the D-Backs, and Arizona also likes the power of Gattis, a 26-year-old who has yet to play above Double A and profiles as a left fielder.
Upton is owed 38.5 million over the next three seasons. The Diamondbacks recently agreed to trade him to the Seattle Mariners, but the Ms were one of four teams on Uptons no-trade list, and he rejected the deal, sources say.
The Braves are not on Uptons no-trade list. B.J. Upton recently agreed to a five-year, 75.25 million free-agent contract with the Braves, and Atlanta is relatively close to the familys home in Virginia.
If the Diamondbacks do not trade Upton, they instead could send Kubel to the Orioles, whose only significant move this offseason was to re-sign free-agent outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year, 2 million contract.
Kubel, 30, is owed 7.5 million next season, plus a 1 million buyout. The Orioles might prefer to spend on a free-agent starting pitcher such as Joe Saunders, or trade for a starter such as Detroit Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello.
Saunders, 31, is seeking a three-year contract, sources say. Porcello, 24, recently avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 5.1 million salary for 2013.
Kubel, who batted .253 with 30 homers and 90 RBI last season, would fit well for the Orioles as a left fielder and designated hitter. McLouth and Nolan Reimond currently are projected to rotate at left field and DH, and Wilson Betemit is another option at DH. Betemit, a switch-hitter, hits righties well. Kubel bats left, Soriano right.
Porcello was only 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA last season, but his performance likely would improve if he went from the Tigers to the Orioles and pitched in front of a better infield defense.
The Tigers, who also are looking to move outfielder Brennan Boesch, continue to pursue late-inning bullpen help. As FOXSports.coms Jon Paul Morosi reported last week, the Orioles may be willing to offer closer Jim Johnson in a deal for Porcello.
Johnson, 30, led the majors with 51 saves last season, but relievers work fewer innings than starters and generally have less value. Porcello also offers an extra year of control he is three years away from free agency, Johnson two.