While the Winter Meetings are still a few weeks away, Major League Baseball teams have been talking trades for the past week as the General Manager Meetings have been going on.
This is the time of year when rumors and speculation begin to run rampant. When you get 30 desperate general managers in a room and tell them to talk to each other, it only makes sense that big things would start to develop.
Some of the rumors will materialize and change the direction of a franchise, while others will remain fantasies that don't come to fruition for one reason or another.
Here is the latest news and rumors on the top trade targets available right now.
Texas' Love of Shortstops Makes Justin Upton Deal a Long Shot
Another day, another rumor about Justin Upton.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Rangers would not include either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in a deal to obtain Upton.
#rangers not willing to give up profar or andrus for justin upton. w/o either, deal with texas very unlikely— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 9, 2012
Which player will be traded first?
It is hard to argue with the Rangers in this scenario. As much upside as Upton still has—remember, he is just 25 years old—Andrus is an elite defensive shortstop and Profar is the best prospect, regardless of position, in baseball.
Whenever the choice is between an elite-level shortstop or a corner outfielder who has had problems with consistency, you always go with the shortstop.
Upton does have MVP potential somewhere in him. We saw it in 2011, when he hit .289/.369/.529 with strong defense in right field. But the Rangers would be foolish to build a package around Andrus or Profar.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia Rolling Out of Fenway?
When the Boston Red Sox decided to sign catcher David Ross to a two-year deal, it all but signaled the end of someone's tenure in Beantown.
It just so happens the catcher on the outs is Jarrod Saltalamacchia, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
For those wondering about #RedSox’s intentions at catcher, one rival exec says they’ve been shopping Saltalamacchia “for weeks.”— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 11, 2012
Saltalamacchia will be a fascinating player to watch, because his trade value would seem to be low. He hit just .222 with a .288 on-base percentage last year, and he's never been a good defensive player.
But there are teams that can look at Saltalamacchia's 25 home runs and .454 slugging percentage as enough offense to make up for what he can't do with the glove. He has one more year of arbitration left before hitting free agency, so he should be relatively cheap.
Asdrubal Cabrera Can Be Yours for the Right Arms
The Asdrubal Cabrera trade talks have been hot and cold since the start of last season. Now, with the Indians completely bottoming out in the second half thanks to bad pitching and an inconsistent offense, it seems like the fire will be re-ignited.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Indians are taking calls on Cabrera (and others) with a very specific goal in mind.
Not surprisingly, the Indians have targeted young starting pitching as they begin the process of taking offers for Asdrubal Cabrera, others.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 10, 2012
Cabrera's case will be an interesting one to follow. He has two years and $16.5 million left on his contract (per Cot's Baseball Contracts). He also hit 41 home runs combined in 2011 and 2012, second-most among American League shortstops during that time.
But Cabrera is also a well-below-average defensive shortstop. He has a knack for making the spectacular play, but only because he lacks the range to play the position. His UZR the last two years is -20.8 (per Fangraphs).
Depending on the team, Cabrera could net the Indians a pretty good return. Considering what they are running out to the mound every day, they need someone who can just eat up some innings.