Saturday was a relatively quiet day around the Majors, as the Hot Stove merely simmered with rumors and speculation. But it should start to heat up soon, as the General Managers Meetings will begin Monday in Orlando, Fla., and the Winter Meetings are only a month away.
So now is the time to look ahead, to try to play free-agent matchmaker and to ponder what major trades may shake up the league’s landscape before pitchers and catchers report.
MLB.com’s Richard Justice took a look at some stars who might be on the move this winter. The potentially busy trade market includes Rays lefty David Price, Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp and Angels slugger Mark Trumbo.
Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com broke down the “perfect storm” brewing for free-agent catcher Brian McCann. Heyman reports that the 29-year-old backstop could be in line to receive a $100 million contract, or at least something in that range. It helps McCann’s cause, Heyman writes, that four interested teams — the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Rangers — have the ability to offer big money on the open market.
• Count CC Sabathia among those trying to get Robinson Cano to stay with the Yankees. Sabathia believes signing Cano should be New York’s top priority this offseason and made a sales pitch that can be summed up in two words: “Stay here.”
Also, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes, Sabathia said he is recovering well from the left hamstring strain that ended his season early and he is “working out 100 percent.”
• Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported on Twitter that the Red Sox will wait for Mike Napoli to accept or decline their $14.1 million qualifying offer before looking elsewhere. Passan noted that Napoli still could be brought back if he declines the one-year offer, but Boston won’t limit its options.
• Who else might the defending World Series champions pursue? Fox Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal wrote “it would be a surprise” to see them land outfielder Carlos Beltran, but perhaps more realistic for them to pursue right-hander Tim Hudson, catcher Carlos Ruiz and some “buy-low” relievers to bolster their bullpen.
• MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan previously reported that the Rangers are willing to talk about trading one of their middle infielders: Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar or Ian Kinsler. Rosenthal writes that such a deal is “starting to look inevitable,” but it doesn’t appear likely that Texas will package Profar with other pieces as part of a mega-trade for someone like Price or Giancarlo Stanton.
• Heyman reports that the Nationals “appear willing to listen to trade inquiries” involving Denard Span, the center fielder and leadoff man they traded for last offseason. Heyman speculates that Washington’s interest in moving Span “could be related” to another potential move, like signing free agent Jacoby Ellsbury.
• Heyman also writes that the Mets consider Shin-Soo Choo to be a “top target,” but they might not have the necessary funds to acquire the free agent outfielder. Heyman writes that agent Scott Boras has made it obvious he’s looking to get Choo a contract equal to or greater than Jayson Werth‘s seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals.
• Pirates GM Neal Huntingon went on the radio to explain why Pittsburgh didn’t make a qualifying offer to starter A.J. Burnett, and MLB.com’s Tom Singer broke down how the Bucs might have to “get creative” to bring back Burnett.
• MLB.com’s Corey Brock took a look at how starting pitching factors into the Padres’ offseason needs. Brock writes that San Diego “hasn’t placed pitching atop their offseason wish list” and would be more likely to acquire only top-of-the-rotation types or long-term options via trade, not in free agency.