Having now had more than a month to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses and health, MLB teams can begin making final preparations for Opening Day.
For the most part, that constitutes minor roster jostling and a few cut/keep decisions.
But each club will at least explore what options exist outside the organization, probing a trade market that should take shape as camps close and teams trek north.
What follows is a quick, team-by-team primer on trade possibilities, containing both general needs and players of interest.
Philadelphia's reported interest in a back-up infielder follows from a recent revelation that Chase Utley's balky knees will sideline him past Opening Day. Matters only got worse when utility man Michael Martinez took a fastball to the foot and broke his fourth metatarsal.
Now Phils management plans to start prospect Freddy Galvis, he of the career .292 minor league OBP at second base.
To be fair, Galvis has played well in spring training and can make up for some of that deadwood with his glove work, but giving 150-plus ABs to a 22-year-old has to frighten a team with championship aspirations.
ESPN's Buster Olney senses Philly might pursue a veteran stopgap like Maicer Izturis or Alberto Callaspo. Depending on the scenario, fifth starter and perpetual trade bait Joe Blanton may serve as collateral.
Starting right fielder Jason Heyward fell out of favor with new Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez last year and hasn't done much to re-assert himself this spring.
He's 10 for his first 50, and scouts tell ESPN's Buster Olney that Heyward is "still thinking about his mechanics" at the plate.
In left field, the situation isn't much better. Martin Prado is about league average, and neither Matt Diaz nor Jose Constanza inspires much confidence. Making matters worse, Chipper Jones' nagging injuries could force Prado to third base and Constanza into an everyday role.
The Braves flirted with O's outfielder Adam Jones this winter, and one wonders if talks in that direction could resurface.
Only one problem—Jair Jurrjens, a centerpiece player in those talks—looks awful (10.13 ERA, 8 SO, 10 BB, 13.1 IP). As his stock falls, it seems unlikely that the Braves could land an everyday corner outfielder without losing one of their prized young arms (Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Mike Minor) in the process.
The scouts and stats agree: Gerardo Parra was the best defensive left fielder in baseball last year. The 24-year-old also took big steps forward at the plate, posting career highs in every significant offensive category.
So when Arizona signed left fielder Jason Kubel this winter, teams naturally began inquiring about Parra's availability. And although the Diamondbacks haven't been all that responsive, the Washington Nationals continue to inquire.
The Nats want to make Parra their regular centerfielder, a position they've long hoped to fill via trade. It's hard, however, to see the sides matching assets.
Washington's most attractive piece is former ace John Lannan, but Arizona already has a solid big-league five and oodles of talent percolating in the high minor leagues.
Stephen Drew's slow-recovering injury does give Arizona need for infield reinforcements, but out-of-favor shortstop Ian Desmond isn't a good enough player to justify losing Parra.
Besides, Arizona can afford to keep Parra in a part-time role because of his age and subsequent cut-rate contract. The D-Backs feel no pressure to move him unless they get a eye-popping offer.
A recent injury to Tim Byrdak leaves the Amazin's without a single active left-handed reliever on their 40-man roster with major league experience.
That figures to change before Opening Day, although it's unlikely to happen via trade. Expect the Mets to sign a free-agent veteran like C.J. Nitkowski or Hong-Chih Kuo rather than wheel a trade.
At the fetus stage of their rebuilding process, New York figures to hold steady with what they have.
If everything breaks right, the Miami Marlins have an above-average starting rotation.
But that's a big, bold "if."
No. 5 starter Carlos Zambrano hasn't thrown 200 innings since 2007; presumptive ace Josh Johnson has done the above just once in his six major-league seasons, and Anibal Sanchez has lingering shoulder maladies. Mark Buehrle is their Mr. Reliable, and he's going on 33.
The Marlins contingency plan is one man, lefty Wade LeBlanc, whom they acquired from the Padres this offseason.
LeBlanc has a career 81 ERA+.
Behind LeBlanc, the pickings get even slimmer. Miami has one of the weakest farm systems in baseball and almost no upper-level talent worth discussing.
All that considered, I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about the Marlins shopping for pitching depth. Manager Ozzie Guillen has a prior relationship with Freddie Garcia, and the veteran righty would offer much-needed peace of mind.
If you think replacing Prince Fielder is Milwaukee's biggest concern, check out the rest of their infield.
Second baseman Rickie Weeks missed significant time in two of the last three years, and third baseman Aramis Ramirez is up against a sharp aging curve. New shortstop Alex Gonzalez has a clean bill of health, but at 35, his age is concern enough.
Behind that brittle front line, the Brewers' best safety valves are—try to contain yourself—Cesar Izturis and Brooks Conrad.
A better insurance policy would have to come via trade. MLB Trade Rumors lists Robert Andino, Brent Lillibridge and Chris Nelson as possibilities.
With Chris Carpenter battling a bad neck, it's no secret the Cardinals need pitching.
Their contingency plan is to stretch out reliever Lance Lynn, but that's a less satisfactory solution the longer Carpenter can't go.
The search for reinforcements likely starts on the free agent market, where rumored target Roy Oswalt awaits. If things get dire or they need leverage, trade rumblings could follow.
I apologize for the repetition, but I prefer monotony to fabrication.
Lots of folks want starting pitching. It's valuable. Get used to it.
As of now, the Reds have the pitching they need. Jeff Francis is a steady sixth starter, and they could swing the star-crossed Aroldis Chapman into the rotation if need arises.
Should Francis opt out of his minor league deal, the scenario changes. Indications are that he will accept an assignment to Triple-A, but the situation bears monitoring.
Last year's tease aside, Pittsburgh remains focused on the long-term.
The season's big questions are developmental, and they include:
Will Pedro Alvarez become an everyday third baseman?
Can Starling Marte sustain the power he showed this spring and force promotion?
Can top pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole match the hype?
Is Jose Tabata a lineup fixture or trade bait with a team-friendly contract?
I don't see a lot of room in there for trades. If the Pirates need a little big-league help, they can find it on the waiver wire. Otherwise, they'll look to sustain last year's positive momentum and look for growth from the young core.
Theo Epstein wants to start from scratch, and he proved it by laying low in this year's free-agent market. The various strengths and weaknesses of this year's roster mean little to the new regime, and it's hard to envision them making a move with short-term outcomes in mind.
Unlike the Pirates, however, the Cubs still have spare parts from their days as a win-now organization. Blake DeWitt and Alfonso Soriano should be available for the right price, and they could re-open the Matt Garza sweepstakes if they sense an active market.
The Cubs need pitching prospects, and they'll shop any of the above for young arms.
The Houston Astros' position recalls that of the Chicago Cubs: new GM, leftover pieces from old regime, looking to sell.
That much was made clear when the 'Stros shipped Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois to the Royals for Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later.
Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers could follow suit depending on market demand.
It's not the Astros don't have holes at the big-league level—the whole roster is basically holes—but they aren't looking to fill them anytime soon.
GM Kevin Towers' stated intention to build catching depth serves two purposes.
The first is to find someone capable of spelling or replacing 40-year-old Henry Blanco if he's not fit for a 15th MLB season. Craig Tatum and Konrad Schmidt are decent in-house options, but there's no harm in competition.
The second and more compelling purpose is to find a potential replacement for starter Miguel Montero. Contract extensions between team and player have cooled, and the recent extension given to Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina may have priced Montero out of Arizona's comfort zone.
By trading for a younger backup with starter potential, the D-Backs can test their post-Montero contingency plan before he hits free agency.
It's probably too early to talk names, but keep J.P Arencibia in mind. Toronto's top prospect is fellow catch Travis d'Arnaud, and his progress could force the Blue Jays' hand some time this year.
I admit, this one has no grounding in reported rumors.
It just makes sense to me.
The Nationals have made it clear that incumbent starting shortstop Ian Desmond can be had for the right price. The Giants plan to start rookie Brandon Crawford at that very same position this year.
Crawford is, by all reports, an excellent fielder. He's also a career .266 hitter in the minor leagues with just 196 major league at-bats. He struggled in a cameo last year, and the Giants need an out if those struggles continue.
Why not pit Crawford against another young shortstop like Desmond and see where the chips fall? Even if Desmond doesn't win the tug-of-war, he's a nice insurance policy should Crawford or the ailing Freddy Sanchez get injured.
I posit all that to you, universe. Do with it what you will.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he's happy with his team's performance in spring training, and at this point, has no intentions of making a trade.
He could, of course, be lying, but there are no whispers to the contrary.
Perhaps the only little lie nestled in there—and there is always at least one—is that Colletti's inaction is born solely out of contentment.
Even if the team wasn't playing well, Colletti would be hard pressed to make a move before new ownership takes root. Until then, the Dodgers remain as they are.
Daniel Rathman at Baseball Prospectus first raised the Joe Blanton-to-Colorado possibility on Wednesday.
It's important to note that he raised it independent of any rumors to that effect. It's equally important to note that he made a lot of sense.
His premise: The Rockies need pitching, the Phillies need infielders and each party has in surplus what the other one needs.
Colorado is an interesting team because they have a mature, dangerous lineup fit for a playoff run. Their pitching and defense, however, rate well below-average.
Adding a veteran arm like Blanton should stabilize the staff while they figure out who among Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Juan Nicasio and the recovering Jorge de la Rosa can help them this year.
A cursory glance at the Padres 40-man roster reveals a dearth of starting pitching, but San Diego won't plug that hole via trade. With a standout Triple-A rotation waiting in the wings and contention still a few years off, there's no need to land a veteran arm.
There is, however, a big trade on San Diego's horizon.
The Padres just signed Nick Hundley to a team-friendly extension. If both he and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal (now at Triple-A) perform well, Hundley will hit the block.
That's a couple of big ifs, and any action on that front will have to wait until mid-summer at the earliest.
With Andy Pettitte joining an already-crowded rotation, it's easy to see where the Yankees have surplus. Freddie Garcia and Phil Hughes are both potential trade candidates.
It's a little less obvious what the Yankees would want in return.
Presumptive DH Raul Ibanez is a few months from 40 and has just two hits this spring. The Bombers could dump him and trade for old pal Bobby Abreu, or perhaps Orioles slugger Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds could even fill in for Alex Rodriguez at third base when the old-timer needs a blow.
All possibilities, although New York could just as well decide to hold steady and ride their depth through the summer.
The Rays traded John Jaso this winter and signed 36-year-old Jose Molina to start behind the plate.
Considering Molina's age, it's no surprise then that they want a capable backup.
The free-agent market offers little in that vein, and Tampa has the pitching surplus needed to swing a trade. The Rays want to keep their pitching depth in place, but if Molina gets injured, they will have few alternatives.
The Red Sox have been connected to the Nationals lefty on-and-off since camp started and as recently as this week by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
The potential snags are twofold.
The primary concern is Lannan's effectiveness. He's been about league average in the National League East and a jump to the AL East could spell trouble.
Secondary, at least by Red Sox standards, is the southpaw's cost. The Nats don't want to eat any part of his $5 million salary and Boston could opt for a cheaper alternative, especially since they're up against the luxury tax.
But at the end of the day, Boston's urgency could drive this deal through. The Red Sox are under constant pressure to contend and their rotation is a tier below those of the Yankees and Rays, their primary rivals.
The Blue Jays want pitching, and they want it now.
Ricky Romero is a decent rotation anchor, and Brandon Morrow appears on the verge of big things, but the rest of the staff needs work. With a plus lineup and the tantalizing possibility of a second wild card now as their carrot, Toronto has motive to move.
They've been connected to Philadelphia's Joe Blanton, but Gavin Floyd is the better, younger pitcher. He can help them now and over the next few years as their top-rated farm system bears fruit.
The White Sox also make sense as a trading partner, seeing as they want to rebuild and Toronto has prospects upon prospects.
So why no deal?
Because White Sox GM Kenny Williams, after an offseason spent dumping big-league assets, says he wants the team to stay competitive through its rebuilding process. Floyd is vital to the Sox chances of playing .500 ball, so he stays.
It makes no sense, I know—though with Williams, I try to leave sense out of the equation.
It's no secret the Orioles want pitching, and you could put just about any available starting pitcher atop this slide.
Joe Blanton, Freddie Garcia, John Lannan, Gavin Floyd are all in the mix, but I opted for St. Louis righty Kyle McClellan because I don't know, I thought I should choose somebody.
It's worth noting that Orioles aren't necessarily looking for someone they can project long-term. It seems the primary goal is to find someone, anyone, better than the ragtag bunch they've assembled. Even a veteran on a one-year or expiring contract will do.
The Tigers already proved their hypersensitivity to potential weaknesses when they signed Prince Fielder. Most expected a small patch-up after Victor Martinez went down, but the Tigers went all in.
Under those win-now auspices, it's hard to imagine the Tigers leaving their rotation as is.
The top four spots are locked up, but after that, it gets murky. Top prospect Jacob Turner disappointed this spring before going down with an injury. Lefty Andy Oliver has shown flashes, but his persistent control issues raise a red flag.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal connects Detroit to Nationals starter John Lannan, and the Tigers should be in the hunt for extra arms all year.
Mark Reynolds just hit the market, so talk about his potential destinations is purely speculative.
From first glance, however, Cleveland seems like a nice fit.
The Tribe's offense came under scrutiny last year during a slow finish, and much of the criticism related to a the team's lack of pop. Reynolds has pop to spare, and he can provide it either as a third baseman, first baseman or DH.
Right now, the Indians have Casey Kotchman penciled in at first, Travis Hafner at DH and Jack Hannahan battling Lonnie Chisenhall for the hot corner. Should any of the above prove unsatisfactory, Reynolds makes a nice plan B.
Considering Cleveland's needs, they might be one of few teams willing to overlook Reynolds' defensive deficiencies and poor contact rate.
I have no idea what to make of the Chicago White Sox. Quite frankly, I'm not sure anyone does.
GM Kenny Williams alluded to rebuilding this offseason, but has appeared hesitant to put Gavin Floyd, Brent Lillibridge and others are on the trading block.
For now, it appears this franchise is stuck in some sort of self-imposed limbo. If they do change course, expect them to shop Floyd and the like for prospects. Chicago's farm system is one of the game's worst.
By acquiring Humberto Quintero as a stopgap for the ailing Salvador Perez, the Royals proved their willingness to trade over injury.
Dare they do it again?
Closer Joakim Soria has ligament damage that could require Tommy John surgery, and Kansas City's in-house replacements—Greg Holland and Jonathan Broxton—could use some competition.
The Orioles just put former closer Kevin Gregg on the market, and his experience in that role should interest a Royals team on the verge of big things.
The Rangers have one of baseball's deepest, most balanced rosters, with even more depth in the minor leagues.
So while they have more starting pitching than they need, their more likely to save it for a rainy day than move it for other superfluous parts.
And that rainy day may come sooner than anticipated. Transitioning starter Neftali Feliz has a shoulder ailment that could force either Alexi Ogando or Scott Feldman back into the rotation.
With so much already invested in this season, it's a mild surprise the Angels have entrusted the back end of their rotation to some combination of Jerome Williams, Brad Mills and Garrett Richards.
Nothing against those three, but none of them provide the depth needed to survive what should be a tough AL West race. The Angels don't need an upgrade at starter, but they at least need to build some options if things go awry.
Reports have the club focusing more on available free agents and potential cuts rather than the trade market, but GM Jerry DiPoto kept a low profile this offseason before pulling off the Pujols-Wilson shocker. Don't be surprised if the Angels peak around, especially if one of their top four incurs an injury.
Scott Sizemore was really Oakland's only option at third base. When he went down with a season-ending knee injury, the A's were stuck with back-up catcher Josh Donaldson as their Plan B.
That would spook most organizations, but Oakland doesn't have much invested in the season ahead. With Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey all gone, 2012 is about vetting the prospects received via trade.
The A's might as well stick whatever warm body they can find at the hot corner and let the losses accumulated. If they feel they need something better, they could look into a guy like Mark Reynolds.
Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik told CBS Sports' Jon Heyman he'd love to swing a trade for utility man Brent Lillibridge.
So much for playing coy.
The only thing standing in the way of a deal is White Sox GM Kenny Williams and his unwillingness to move more big league pieces before the season starts.
That's a pretty big stumbling block.
Seattle doesn't have a pressing need with contention still a few years off, so the chances are against a deal getting done.