On Saturday, the free-agency period began for Major League Baseball.
Every winter, it seems like every big name somehow gets tied to the New York Yankees, whether it be a free agent or a top trade target.
I don't know if it's because the Yankees have the largest payroll in the sport or that they're usually aggressive in the winter; either way, every major talent one way or another gets linked to the Bronx.
For example, both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder both came up in rumor discussions with the Yankees, but nothing ever became of them.
What kind of rumors will we hear this winter involving the Yankees?
Look for five certain ones.
The Texas Rangers slugger is the biggest prize on the market this winter.
Similar to Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder of a year ago, Hamilton will likely not be on the Yankees' radar.
For one, his starting asking price of seven years and $175 million is going to be way out of their range, especially if the Yankees want to lower their payroll to the $189 million mark by 2014.
Plus the Yankees only have one opening in their outfield in right field, and I don't see Hamilton taking a lot less money to play in the Bronx.
I know people have dreamed about Hamilton in pinstripes ever since the 2008 Home Run Derby, but at this point in his career, he doesn't make sense for the Yankees.
Josh Hamilton is the best hitter on the free-agent market.
That would make Zack Greinke the best pitcher on the market, but honestly, the Yankees could care less.
Ever since the Yankees missed out on Cliff Lee two years ago in free agency, many people have suggested that they go after Greinke.
Putting Greinke with CC Sabathia atop of the Yankees' rotation would be a nice 1-2 punch of aces, but in reality, it's not going to happen.
If you ask me, I expect Greinke to go back to the Angels for a ton of money.
Joe Mauer isn't a free agent, but his name is expected to come up in trade rumors this winter.
It's mostly because he has a lot of money left on his current contract and the Twins would probably love to shed the remainder of that deal.
And with Russell Martin as a free agent, the Yankees do have an opening at catcher.
Deep down, I always wanted to see the Yankees get Mauer because he would provide them with a solid contact hitter rather than a slugger.
But because or how much money is owed on Mauer's deal, don't expect him to be catching games in the Bronx in 2013.
James Shields is due to be getting a lot of money real soon.
And for the Tampa Bay Rays, it likely means that they will be forced to trade him in the near future.
Shields name will come up in a lot of rumors and trade talks this winter, but don't expect the Yankees to be a part of them.
It's not that the Yankees have anything Tampa Bay would want, but it's the simple fact that the Yankees and Rays are in the same division.
I think Shields could get traded; it just won't be to New York.
Many Yankee fans dream of King Felix in the Bronx.
Unfortunately, it's a trade scenario that always gets brought up every winter and never happens.
It seems every year teams bring up trade ideas to try and pry Hernandez away from the Mariners.
But Seattle isn't interested in dealing away their ace anytime soon.
Even if the Yankees offer a package of five or six quality talents mixed with prospects or MLB-ready players, it's unlikely the Mariners part with the face of their franchise.
If the Yankees ever want King Felix, they will simply have to wait until he's a free agent after the 2014 season.