The 2013 Winter Meetings began on Monday in Orlando, Florida. The event is set to conclude on Thursday, and several big names could be moved by week’s end with a flurry of free-agent signings and trades.
The most notable free agents are already off the market, with players like Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Curtis Granderson all finding new homes. However, quality bats like Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, and Juan Uribe are still available.
Teams will be looking to trade some of their biggest assets with less options on the free-agent market. Recent rumors surround some of the best position players and pitchers in baseball.
Price was an All-Star from 2010-2012, but his time in Tampa could be coming to an end. The former Cy Young Award winner has a big payday on the horizon, and the Rays are exploring a trade for the 28-year-old. He is arbitration eligible for the next two years and will become a free agent after the 2015 season.
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According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are the three most likely landing spots for the pitcher. The Mariners appear to be the favorite to acquire Price. ESPN’s Buster Olney asked three executives where they thought Price would end up, and they all answered with Seattle.
The biggest obstacle in getting a deal done might be the involvement of Taijuan Walker. Heyman reports that the Mariners believe they could land the Rays’ starter if they include their top prospect, but they aren’t looking to move the 21-year-old. Price could give Seattle the best front end of any rotation in the MLB, if he were to join Felix Hernandez. The rumors of Price heading to Seattle come shortly after the team made the biggest splash of the offseason by signing Cano.
The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have to worry about losing Kemp in the next few years, but they are still exploring trade possibilities. The outfielder is signed through 2019 and set to make roughly $20 million per year. However, Kemp’s agent, Dave Stewart, says L.A. is in trade talks with other clubs.
ESPN reports that the Dodgers have spoken to the Boston Red Sox, but a deal isn’t imminent. He has also been linked to the New York Yankees, but they may have lost interest after signing both Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran.
In 2011, Kemp was arguably the best all-around player in baseball. Now, it might not be so easy for the Dodgers to find a suitor for the former MVP runner-up. He underwent ankle surgery in October, and general manager Ned Colletti told former GM Jim Bowden that Kemp is still in a boot and isn’t expected to be completely healthy for the start of Spring Training. Injuries have forced him to miss 145 games in the past two seasons, and he only registered a .723 OPS in 2013.
Ichiro Suzuki & Brett Gardner
After spending close to $200 million Beltran and Ellsbury, the Yankees have a surplus of outfielders. Besides the two free agents, the Yankees have Suzuki, Gardner, Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano under contract. The club is highly unlikely to make it to opening day will all six of those players on their roster.
Gardner has the most value of any outfielder that was on the Yankees last year. Unlike the other three, he’s still in the prime of his career and is not overpaid. General managaer Brian Cashman has expressed his desire to keep Gardner, who is arbitration eligible this year and set to become a free agent after the 2014 season. However, if the Yankees want some value for one of their outfielders, Gardner likely will be traded sooner rather than later.
Chad Jennings of The Journal News reports that the Yankees have mentioned Suzuki to other teams in trade discussions. The veteran only has one year and $6.5 million left on his contract, but he won’t be easy to move. In 2013, he had a career-low OPS of .639 and 20 steals.