The winter meetings have started and the rumors are a swirlin. Contracts are running out, money is getting tight, and teams are doing everything they can to get the most out of their superstars before they sign huge free agent contracts and leave their former squads with nothing but a few happy memories.
As a result, there is plenty of big names available this offseason.
Let’s get to it.
1. David Price SP
Under team control through the end of 2015, Price is on the block after a Cy Young season in 2012 and another spectacular campaign in 2013.
The Tampa Bay Rays know that time’s running out to unload their lefty ace. The 28-year-old is in for a Clayton Kershaw-like payday, and the Rays have too many financial concerns to consider resigning Price to a long term deal, especially if they want to get out of that spaceship in St. Petersburg and start attracting more than 10,000 fans a night to their ballpark.
Price is currently being pursued by the Mariners, Rangers, and Dodgers, who all have the funds and the prospects to get a deal done. You’d have to consider the Dodgers the favorite to land Price at this point, but if he is moved my money is on the Mariners, a team looking to win now that has a surplus of valuable middle infielders like Nick Franklin and Brad Miller they could use as the centerpiece in the deal in the wake of the Robinson Cano signing.
2. Chris Sale
Trade rumors have surfaced in recent days that Sale might be available for a king’s ransom of prospects and it’s fair to say that’s what it’s going to take for the White Sox to unload him.
Sale is under club control through 2019 at a reasonable price and is one of the best pitchers in baseball at age 24, so a deal is doubtful. But the White Sox are listening, and if a team steps up with an offer they can’t refuse it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they pull the trigger with their inept farm system.
The Diamondbacks are reportedly the team that has shown the most interest.
3. Matt Kemp OF
Kemp has reportedly been available since the 2013 season ended, but unlike Price and Sale who will need multiple prospects to be moved, a team willing to take on most of the $128 million remaining on Kemp’s contract might be all that’s needed to get a deal done.
Once a threat for MLB’s 40/40 club, Kemp has been crippled by injuries over the last two seasons and the Dodgers are looking to go a new direction with their surplus of outfielders.
The Red Sox, Mets, and Mariners (they are everywhere) have all been reported to have some interest in Kemp, but with his gaudy contract and his ankle still in a walking boot, a deal is unlikely to surface.
4. Brandon Phillips 2B
Phillips is in interesting case. The Reds openly put the 32-year-old second baseman on the block at the beginning of this offseason and it seemed like a forgone conclusion that he’d be moved early.
However, they Reds haven’t found a suitor or someone willing to take on Phillips’ large contract and colorful personality. It’s not that he isn’t productive. He’s been a gold-glove infielder for years and topped the century mark in RBI in 2013. But there has been signs of diminishing range and he did post a brutal .706 OPS last year so maybe that’s scaring teams away.
This week it was reported the Reds offered Phillips to the Yankees in a straight up swap for outfielder Brett Gardner, but despite the Yankees abundance of outfielders and a hole at second base with the departure of Robinson Cano, the Yankees declined. With that in mind, it’s becoming increasingly likely that Phillips remains with the Reds until at least before the trade deadline next season.
5. Domonic Brown OF
After spending part of his first three seasons falling well short of his top prospect-status Brown finally broke out in 2013, making his first all-star team and hitting 27 home runs.
Now it appears the Phillies aren’t completely sold on Brown, actively shopping him in an attempt to sell-high on the 26-year-old.
There’s likely to be plenty of teams calling, and it wouldn’t be overly shocking to see a team like the Tigers or Mariners (them again) land the power-hitting outfielder.
Players moved since article was published
Mark Trumbo 1B/OF (Traded to Arizona Diamondbacks)
Trumbo is 27-years-old, can play two positions (although he’s best suited at 1st), and has hit 30+ HR each of the last two seasons so he would have plenty of suitors if available on the open market.
Oddly enough, the Angels say he is.
Not that they are in a rush to get rid of him, it’ll take a lot for them to part with the 2012 all-star. But with their lack of young pitching, a team like the Diamondbacks–who are reportedly interested–have enough pitching prospects (Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley, etc.) to have a deal make sense for the Angels.