Marlins attempted trade for Greinke

The Zack Greinke talk just keeps getting hotter.

The Marlins, a team not previously linked to Greinke, attempted to make a three-team trade for the Royals’ ace on Wednesday, according to a major-league source.

The Marlins’ proposed deal for Greinke, which also involved the Rangers, never gained momentum, sources said.

The discussions could revive at a later time, but one source described that possibility as only “lukewarm.”

The Rangers stand the most to lose if the Marlins or another club acquires Grienke — particularly if free-agent left-hander Cliff Lee bolts for the Yankees or another team.

But the Marlins, who have a history of pursuing blockbusters, envisioned pairing Greinke with right-hander Josh Johnson at the top of their rotation.

The Royals are seeking young players in any deal for Greinke. The Marlins-Rangers portion included an exchange of relievers, and the Royals would have acquired prospects from both teams.

A Rangers source strongly denied that such a deal was discussed. The Rangers, according to numerous sources, want Greinke for themselves.

The Marlins, though, are always aggressive and creative. Closer Leo Nunez is in play in trade discussions, one source said. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco may be, too.

The Royals are quite specific in what they want for Grienke — pitching to replace him and help at one or more of the four up-the-middle positions (center field, shortstop, second base and catcher).

Five teams are seriously pursuing Greinke, the source said. Another three are on the periphery of the discussions.

Among the teams that also have shown at least a measure of interest, according to sources and reports: The Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals and Blue Jays.

Some rival executives believe the Rangers are in position to make the best offer for Greinke, if they haven’t already. But other sources say there is no front-runner.

“There are multiple opportunities,” one source said. “(The Royals) are moving very slowly, dissecting every player.”