Already this offseason, there have been several major trades.
Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Beuhrle were sent packing from Miami to Toronto, the Royals swapped Wil Myers with the Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis and the Diamondbacks, Indians and Reds just completed a blockbuster deal involving Shin-Soo Choo and Trevor Bauer.
Despite this wave in activity, there's still a lot more coming. Here are five players/deals rumored to be at least somewhat in the works, ranked from least likely to the most likely.
The Yankees are going to get their payroll under $189 million before the 2014 season, and they have a lot of holes to fill on their roster.
Even with the signing of Kevin Youkilis and likely re-signing of Ichiro Suzuki, the team still needs a catcher, a right-handed outfielder and other role players.
Given the free-agent market and Yankees' payroll restrictions, it's been reported that Brian Cashman has been looking into trading Curtis Granderson.
Granderson is a free agent next offseason and after .232 in 2012 with 195 strikeouts, the Yankees would probably look elsewhere for a center fielder.
Now that the Yankees have signed Youkilis and are close to signing Suzuki, I don't think the Yankees will deal Granderson. But I'm sure Cashman will listen to any offers that come his way.
The Red Sox are listening to offers for Jacoby Ellsbury to improve their starting pitching and have even made offers of their own, such as last week's attempt to deal him for Cliff Lee from the Phillies.
After signing Shane Victorino, Ellsbury is somewhat expendable and Ben Cherington has made it clear the Sox's highest priority is acquiring starting pitching.
The problem with dealing Ellsbury at this point is that his trade value is somewhat limited. He had an MVP-type year in 2011, hitting 32 home runs and stealing 39 bases, but he only played 74 games in 2012 and has always had health problems.
That factor, plus the fact he hits free agency after next season, will make teams reluctant to give up quality starting pitchers for him.
I think the Sox would like to trade Ellsbury, but I don't see a trade partner for them this offseason.
The Cubs' desire to trade Alfonso Soriano has seemed like a pipe dream for years, but this winter it's actually a distinct possibility.
Soriano had a good year for the 2012 Cubs, hitting 32 home runs with an .821 OPS. His contract is not as burdensome as it used to be, with only two years left at $36 million. For any trade to work the Cubs would have to pick up a large portion of that, but at least the years left are not a major issue anymore.
Cubs also shopped Soriano to Astros as a possible DH, but Astros don't have enough money (even with Cubs contributing a lot).— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 11, 2012
With the Cubs willing to pay a big chunk of Soriano's deal, look for teams to get more involved once Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher sign contracts, leaving other suitors without free-agent options.
From a baseball standpoint, it makes sense for the Mets to trade NL Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey.
The Mets are unlikely to compete in the next year or two, and even though Dickey is a knuckleballer, at 38 years old it's unlikely he'll be part of the next Mets playoff team. Plus, with the surplus of starting pitching the Mets seem to have, he could be used to acquire an outfielder or above-average hitting prospect.
But the Mets' front-office doesn't want to wave the white flag to fans before the 2013 season even starts, which partially explains why they've held on to him so far and are trying to negotiate an extension.
Dickey is reportedly asking for a two year deal and $26 million, while the Mets just upped their offer to two years and $20 million.
The two sides can probably bridge their differences, if they want to, although I believe that Sandy Alderson understands that from a baseball side the team should trade him.
I don't get the sense that they will, but if a team like the Rangers or Blue Jays blows them away with an offer, Alderson will have a way to sell the trade to fans and acquire talent in return.
With the additions of Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers have eight starting pitchers who could be in the rotation (Greinke, Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly, in no particular order).
While it's always a good thing to have depth because injuries inevitably happen over the course of a season, they probably have one or two starters too many and will be looking to make a deal before the season starts.
The Dodgers have a team full of All-Stars, but they could use one of their starters to acquire a right-handed outfielder or another bat to add to their lineup.
It's unknown which Dodger starter will be traded, but it's extremely likely that at least one will be wearing a different uniform next year.