MLB Rumors and Speculation: 7 Players Most Likely to Be Moved in Winter Meetings

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2012

MLB Rumors and Speculation: 7 Players Most Likely to Be Moved in Winter Meetings

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    The annual MLB Winter Meetings will take place this season from December 3-6 in Nashville, Tennessee as the baseball world comes together for four days of wheeling and dealing.

    Last year's winter meetings were dominated by free-agent signings, as Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson among others agreed to deals during the meetings.

    This season is likely to see a slew of free-agent deals reached as well, but there could also be a much more active trade market this time around with a number of big names potentially available via trade.

    Here is a look at the seven players most likely to be dealt when the winter meetings kick off next week.

CF Denard Span, Minnesota Twins

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    Denard Span has seemingly been on the trade block for the past several seasons, but this winter could be when the Minnesota Twins finally pull the trigger on dealing him. They are desperate to add starting pitching.

    As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports points out, Span could be an attractive option to teams that don't want to spend big on an outfielder in free agency. The 28-year-old will make $4.75 million in 2013, $6.5 million in 2014 and has a $9 million option for 2015.

    Though he's no superstar, Span has a solid career slash line of .284/.357/.389 with 20 steal speed and Gold Glove-caliber defense. He would be a major addition for a number of contenders, with the Braves and Reds jumping to mind immediately.

SP Ricky Nolasco, Miami Marlins

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    The Miami Marlins' dealings will be under close watch from the commissioner's office following the team's fire sale of a deal with the Blue Jays just one year after they spent big to try to put a winner in the next stadium that the Miami community paid for.

    While I don't think the team will deal Giancarlo Stanton, I do think Nolasco is on his way out. He is set to hit free agency at the end of the season and has little chance of being retained beyond that given the current state of the Marlins franchise.

    The 29-year-old has gone 76-64 with a 4.49 ERA in seven seasons with the Marlins, and if nothing else, he has proved to be a durable innings eater. The Marlins would likely even eat some of the $11.5 million he is due if it means landing a halfway decent prospect in return.

SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians

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    The Cleveland Indians have a handful of veterans who could be moved this offseason, but their most attractive trade chip is shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Not only is he signed through 2014, but he is head and shoulders better than any shortstop on the free-agent market.

    With contending teams like the A's, Diamondbacks, Rays, Cardinals and perhaps Tigers all with at least some level of interest in acquiring a shortstop, the Indians have one of the most in-demand trade chips on the market in Cabrera. The winter meetings are the perfect place to pit those teams against one another for his services.

SP James Paxton, Seattle Mariners

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    The Seattle Mariners have a trio of starting pitching prospects that can rival any in baseball, with Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton all expected to join Felix Hernandez in the Mariners' rotation at some point in the next year.

    However, they desperately need to address an offense that has ranked last in the AL in batting average and runs scored for the past three seasons. That may mean moving one of those prospects. While Hultzen and Walker are all but untouchable, they may be open to dealing Paxton if it means getting the impact bat they desperately need.

RF Wil Myers, Kansas City Royals

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    The Kansas City Royals' top prospects and last year's Minor League Player of the Year, Wil Myers hit .314 BA, 37 HR, 109 RBI as a 21-year-old last season between Double-A and Triple-A.

    Despite his lofty standing as one of the top prospects in baseball, Myers is by no means untouchable. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Royals are willing to move him if it means landing the frontline starter they so desperately need.

SP Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays

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    It's been suggested a million times to this point, so what's one more? With an abundance of pitching and a number of holes in their lineup, it only makes sense to think the Tampa Bay Rays could look to move an arm for a bat this winter.

    According to Jon Heyman, it's Jeremy Hellickson who is drawing the most interest among the Rays many attractive starting pitching options. The asking price will be high, but for a team looking to add an impact arm it may be worth paying to acquire the 25-year-old.

CF Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies

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    A disappointment offensively over his first three full big league seasons, Dexter Fowler finally broke out last season with a .300/.389/.474, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 72 R season.

    At 26, and under team control through the 2015 season, Fowler won't come cheap, but assuming B.J. Upton signs before the winter meetings, there could be a number of teams after him.

    For teams seeking an impact offensive player in center field that miss out on Upton and don't want to pay Michael Bourn, Fowler may be the perfect option if they're willing to meet the Colorado Rockies' asking price.