MLB: Bold Predictions for the Rest of the Offseason
Although some dominoes have begun to fall, there is still plenty left in store for the 2012-2013 MLB offseason. So what should be expected in the upcoming weeks of potential wheeling and dealing?
Who will ink Zack Greinke?
Will Justin Upton find a new home?
Where will Josh Hamilton be slugging homers come 2013?
These questions and more are answered as I make eight bold predictions for the remainder of the offseason.
Boston Signs Nick Swisher and Brian Wilson
Al Bello/Getty Images
After finishing last in an extremely competitive American League East, there's no question that the Boston Red Sox have to spend this offseason.
They've recently inked catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli to a three-year, $39 million deal, but there are still voids to be filled.
One of those voids sits in right field.
With Cody Ross exploring his options, the Red Sox should be looking towards a bigger bat to replace him. So how about Mr. Smiley himself, Nick Swisher?
Although his numbers (.272 BA, 24 HR, 93 RBI) were padded as a result of a stacked Yankees lineup, Swisher should still be a coveted commodity for a team lacking pop in its offense and positive energy in the locker room.
Boston fans may cringe at this possibility, but the right fielder could end up as a very solid option.
Besides Bobby Valentine as the manager, the team's biggest problem last season was the ever-generous bullpen. In particular, the Red Sox failed to establish a solid reliever for the closer's role.
After being non-tendered by the Giants, Brian Wilson could find a match with the Red Sox. His wacky personality and overall likability would fit in nicely with the baseball culture in Boston.
Kansas City Trades for James Shields
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
It has been rumored that Tampa has been open to trading some of its pitching in order to bring in some offense.
The two names often linked in these rumors are James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
Given that he's older and is getting paid quite more, Shields has to be the primary catalyst over Hellickson in trade talks. Besides, Tampa should be looking to hold onto Hellickson for the present and future of the organization.
His trade value is lower, but I do think Shields eventually gets shipped out rather than his current Tampa teammate.
Kansas City has been aggressively pursuing a way to reel in an ace. The Royals do have the potent offensive talent to offer in exchange for the Rays' Shields.
Cleveland Trades Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Cleveland has to be looking to unload some veteran contracts in exchange for prospects.
The two most appealing players that fit this bill for the Indians are Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo.
Cabrera followed up his career-year in 2011 with a somewhat solid campaign in 2012. He hit 16 home runs and drove in 68 runs to the tune of a .270 average. Being that offensively skilled shortstops come at a premium, plenty of teams, including division rival Detroit, should be inquiring about him.
Choo will be another name brought up in numerous trade talks at the meetings in Nashville. In addition to being one of the league's better hitters when he's healthy, Choo is also an above average defensive talent.
Which ever teams miss out on Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn could give Cleveland a call.
Some potential suitors may include Philadelphia, Seattle and the Yankees.
R.A. Dickey Remains with the New York Mets
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
According to numerous reports, the New York Mets have been shopping around R.A. Dickey at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
Some rumored teams involved in such talks include Arizona, Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Texas and Toronto.
But despite the active market for the Cy Young Award winner, my money's on Dickey remaining in Queens.
Although they just extended David Wright, the Mets still need some sort of attraction to bring fans to Citi Field. Dickey's starts significantly influenced ticket sales last season.
Unless the Mets receive a great offer loaded with promising talent, I believe Dickey stays.
Texas Trades for Justin Upton
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Texas Rangers have two great shortstops in Elvis Andrus and Andrelton Simmons. And unfortunately for teams looking to acquire a franchise shortstop, the Rangers' front office is extremely timid of cutting ties with either one of them.
A potential jolting from Josh Hamilton, however, might lighten that stance.
Texas is looked at by many as one of the front-runners for Hamilton. But if signs elsewhere, which seems more likely by the day, the Rangers will be in need of another outfielder. So why not go for a perfect match with Arizona's Justin Upton?
Upton's name has been the topic of trade talks all season long, and the D'Backs have been clamoring for a shortstop.
I think Texas ultimately doesn't wait for Hamilton, and makes a quick move by trading either Andrus or Simmons for a new outfield bat.
Zack Greinke Signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers
Tim Umphrey/Getty Images
Considering the Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the favorites to ink Zack Greinke, this may not be the boldest of predictions. Nonetheless, Greinke is, beyond a doubt, the market's top available pitcher.
A player who prefers not to carry the burden of pressure, Greinke would fit rather nicely into the Dodgers organization. He would face easier lineups in the National League and would work as the team's No. 2, behind lefty Clayton Kershaw.
And given the Dodgers' willingness to spend, Greinke will definitely be enticed by what will seemingly be one of the biggest contracts for a pitcher in MLB history.
On a side note, the 29-year-old right-hander also has a soft spot for hitting. Not that this should factor too much into his decision, but his love for swinging the pine could be a pull factor to bring him back to the NL.
Josh Hamilton Signs with the New York Yankees
J. Meric/Getty Images
Although New York's front office has remained solid on its new mantra of cutting costs, there are much too many variables that indicate this potential signing.
For one, the Yankees have a considerable need for a corner outfielder. With Nick Swisher gone and Ichiro now exploring the market, the Bronx Bombers could possibly be left with just Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner.
And now, the hip injury of Alex Rodriguez must be taken into consideration. Slumping or not, Rodriguez should have figured himself into a considerable role of the team's offense this upcoming season, but with him out, the Yankees are left with a much weaker lineup.
Perhaps Hamilton could be brought in to rejuvenate the offense.
And more recently, New York has become more open to the idea of trading its current center fielder in Granderson for some younger talent. If this ends up materializing, it'll leave some valuable salary cap space open for such a signing.
When you factor in Hamilton's prospects of hitting at Yankee Stadium, the intrigue he's receiving from Boston and the franchise's overall free agent history of reeling in the big fish, we may have something brewing here.
Back in 2009, the Yanks were very low-key in their pursuit of Mark Teixeira, and ended up bringing him in.
Perhaps they're taking the same approach with Hamilton.