With the Winter Meetings just a few short weeks away, already there has been significant buzz surrounding trade partners and potential blockbusters occurring at the otherwise quiet event.
Two teams that keep getting paired together are the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.
The Indians finished the 2012 season in fourth place in the American League Central with a record of 68-94 while the Red Sox finished in the basement of the AL East with a record of 69-93.
Both front offices are quite familiar with one another.
Terry Francona, the longtime manager of the Boston Red Sox, is the new manager of the Cleveland Indians while John Farrell, Francona's former pitching coach in Boston, is the new Red Sox manager.
Justin Masterson, the ace of the Indians' pitching staff, is a product of the Red Sox's farm system and was coached by Farrell in Boston.
You get the point.
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi deems the two clubs destined to make at least one trade at the winter meetings.
Morosi states: "The Indians are coming off a 94-loss season and could begin another rebuild by trading the likes of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, closer Chris Perez and starting pitcher Justin Masterson. Each could fill an area of need for the Red Sox, who have financial flexibility thanks to their August blockbuster with the Dodgers."
That sounds all fine and dandy, but what does each team need moving forward?
The Red Sox are in need of an outfielder, starting pitcher, a first baseman and possibly a shortstop, unless they are ready to move forward with either Jose Iglesias, Pedro Ciriaco or Xander Bogaerts.
The Indians are in need of an outfielder, starting pitcher and a first baseman.
As CBS Sports' Jon Heyman points out: "Those two teams will definitely talk, but it would seem that having similar needs would be an impediment to a deal."
It would appear the only trade chips the two teams could discuss would be for closer Chris Perez or shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, possibly Justin Masterson.
In the case of Perez, the Red Sox already have Andrew Bailey in place with Mark Melancon as the setup man, which essentially negates that deal unless the Sox are ready to move on from Bailey after an injury-shortened season.
Cabrera could make for an interesting trade topic, but one where the Indians hold little leverage after having just acquired Red Sox cast off Mike Aviles.
That leaves Justin Masterson, a player that the Indians would be hesitant to part with while the Red Sox wouldn't mind reuniting with.
While the framework is there for conversations to take place, there just doesn't appear to be enough compatible need on either end for a deal to take place, especially at the winter meetings.
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