With the offseason working it's way into full swing this week, we're starting to see signs of which teams are seriously considering reshaping their rosters and which will maintain growth from within.
The Chicago Cubs appeared to be one of the biggest buyers of the young offseason on Friday when a trade sending Carlos Marmol to Los Angeles in exchange for Dan Haren was announced, but with that trade falling through, it's back to the drawing board.
One option noted by Chicago Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat is the return of Ryan Dempster to Wrigley Field.
The idea may seem odd, given the fact that he was traded away less than six months ago, but in all reality, the move makes more sense than one might think.
With Cole Hamels off the market before even entering it, Brandon McCarthy, Zack Greinke, Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse represent the best pitching options on the open market.
Lohse and Jackson are both represented by Scott Boras, an agent known for milking every penny out of a team when negotiating a contract.
Greinke will likely set the bar, and with other teams likely willing to spend more money than Chicago, a return to the NL Central doesn't seem all that probable.
Throughout much of last year's offseason, it seemed like there were relatively constant murmurs about Matt Garza being shipped out of Chicago prior to the start of this season.
Speculation went back and forth more than once since then, with the Cincinnati Reds showing up as just one team interested in him this summer.
They weren't the only one, as it was reported that the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to add Garza for a second-half run (reported by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star), and while that obviously didn't come to fruition, Toronto will need to improve its rotation if it hopes to contend in 2013.
Looking to sign what could very well be his last significant contract before retiring, Dempster would probably give strong consideration to returning to the team that he had been with since 2004, up until this summer.
On the Cubs' side, they would likely be able to sign him for less than the $14 million annual salary they've been paying him for the past few seasons.
For Dempster, he'd be returning to a team that he's posted 67 of his 117 wins with, a team that he's posted a lower ERA with than the other three franchises he's played with and a home stadium where he's won better than 50 percent of his games.
He still has a home in Chicago and has spent time there since the Rangers' season ended, so it's clear that he's comfortable in the Windy City.
A move to bring Dempster back to Chicago would have made little sense just a day ago, as the baseball world assumed that Dan Haren would become the newest member of the Cubs.
That's all changed, since the trade that would have sent Carlos Marmol to the Angels isn't happening, and Los Angeles has since declined Haren's option, making him a free agent.
As he enters free agency, the possibility still remains that Haren could sign with Chicago, but at least for now, it appears that he won't be playing at Wrigley Field in 2013.