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Rangers pursuing Zack Greinke, Justin Upton trade increasingly unlikely

Though the Los Angeles Dodgers are considered the front runner to land Zack Greinke, the Texas Rangers are making a push to sign the free agent starter, while talks regarding Justin Upton have slowed down.

Jamie Sabau

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders could play a role in the Texas Rangers landing Zack Greinke.

Well, sort of. Texas is still hot after Greinke, who is believed to be weighing offers from both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Rangers. Los Angeles is considered the favorite to sign Greinke, but the Rangers remain in the picture -- perhaps because of Greinke's wife, Emily, who used to be a Cowboys cheerleader.

Per the NY Post's Joel Sherman, Mrs. Greinke would influence Zack's decision -- which bodes well for the Rangers.

Even if the Rangers fail to sign Greinke, it doesn't appear that this year's top free agent pitcher will return to Anaheim. CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reported that the Los Angeles Angels will not be able to compete with an offer that exceeds $160 million dollars -- and that appears to be where the bidding is headed.

Greinke went 15-5 in 2012, spending time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Angels. Greinke finished the year with a 3.48 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, and while neither his ERA nor WHIP seem to dictate a record-breaking contract, Greinke possesses some of the best stuff in all of baseball, and struck out 200 batters in 212 and 1/3 innings. Greinke put together one of the best pitching seasons in recent history in 2009, when he won the Cy Young with the Royals, with a 16-8 record, 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 229 and 1/3 innings.

If the Rangers can land Greinke, they could decide to use Derek Holland as trade bait to fill offensive holes.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is reportedly the one pushing a potential four-team trade, that would send Justin Upton to Texas, but talks have slowed, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The Seattle Mariners have entered the picture, replacing the Tampa Bay Rays, and while it's unclear who would get what, it's reported that the Mariners covet Holland.

Asdrubal Cabrera would head to Arizona in the proposed deal, with prospects headed to Cleveland.

Unfortunately for Rangers fans, Rosenthal reported that unless there's a huge shift in the talks, the deal appears to be dead.

Further, Nolan Ryan did not rule out the possibility that the Rangers sign both Greinke and Josh Hamilton. Still, it seems to be a stretch to believe that the Rangers could commit $20+ million dollars per year to both superstars.

Though the Rangers are seen as the primary suitor for Hamilton, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington met with Hamilton on Monday night, before Hamilton left Nashville. After signing both Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino to three-year deals, it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would commit major money to Hamilton, especially after ridding themselves of financial burden in an August waiver wire deal with the Dodgers.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.