MLB Trade Rumors: Players Most Likely to Be Dealt before Spring Training

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2013

MLB Trade Rumors: Players Most Likely to Be Dealt before Spring Training

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    MLB fans have seen a slew of free-agent acquisitions this offseason, but there are still a handful of potential trades that could happen before spring training starts.

    MLB trade rumors are about as common as Mark Sanchez turnovers, but the following five players and their rumored deals have some weight to them.

    As always, you'll want to stay up-to-date with Bleacher Report's MLB page to follow the potential moves, but here are five players who have great chances of being traded this offseason.

Jacoby Ellsbury

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    With the addition of Shane Victorino, Jacoby Ellsbury becomes expendable and could be a nice trade chip for the Boston Red Sox, who need pitching to contend in the AL East.

    The idea of trading the 29-year-old outfielder is very much a possibility, as Matt Snyder of CBS Sports reports that Boston is listening to offers for its 2011 standout.

    Since Ellsbury is set to hit the open market following the 2013 season, the Red Sox would be wise to deal him before this season and get pieces in return that can help them build toward a championship.

    Ellsbury has been linked to the Philadelphia Phillies (h/t, who are looking to bolster their outfield following the departures of Hunter Pence and Victorino.

    If Ellsbury returns to 2011 form, he'll be an asset to any team interested in acquiring his services.

Alfonso Soriano

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    It feels like the Chicago Cubs have been trying to deal Alfonso Soriano since they first acquired him, but 2013 could finally see it happen.

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cubs talked about a Soriano/Domonic Brown deal, and although it obviously didn't happen, it means the Cubs are serious about dealing the 36-year-old outfielder.

    The talks are still very much alive, as RealGM Baseball reports:

    Philadelphia is in the market for a corner infielder with some power, a role Alfonso Soriano fits perfectly.

    — RealGM Baseball (@RealGMBaseball) December 31, 2012

    Soriano has hit at least 20 home runs in every season since 2002 and is coming off a season in which he hit 32 bombs and drove in 108 RBI for Chicago.

    With talks continuing to resume, don't be surprised to see Soriano donning a new uniform next season.

Jason Kubel

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    The Arizona Diamondbacks have a surplus of outfielders—with the addition of Cody Ross—and could deal one of them to provide depth in other areas.

    Case in point: Jason Kubel.

    Kubel is coming off a tremendous season of 30 homers and 90 RBI and has caught the eye of the Chicago White Sox, according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler:

    White Sox have talked about Kubel. Also had talks about Upton earlier in winter, when Diamondbacks asked about Alexei Ramirez.

    — DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 22, 2012

    With the Diamondbacks lacking at SS, this deal definitely has some weight to it, as Alexei Ramirez would be an immense upgrade for Arizona.

    Kubel proved his worth in 2012 and could find a new home for the upcoming season real soon.

Rick Porcello

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    The Detroit Tigers haven't been shy about putting starter Rick Porcello on the trading block, and according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, there are some suitors for the 24-year-old:

    Sources: #Tigers have spoken with multiple teams about Rick Porcello. #Orioles and #Mariners among those involved. @mlbonfox

    — Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 20, 2012 reports that with the emergence of Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy could be available, and thus we could see a deal involving Hardy and Porcello between the Orioles and Tigers.

    It's a deal that would certainly work for both sides, as the Tigers recently inked Anibal Sanchez to a new deal and the Orioles could use a starter behind Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chin.

    At just 24, Porcello has yet to hit his peak and could become a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy if given the proper coaching and atmosphere.

Justin Smoak

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    Add Justin Smoak to the growing list of MLB players on the trade block.

    According to CBS Seattle, the Baltimore Orioles have shown growing interest in the 26-year-old first baseman.

    This is a deal that definitely has some weight to it. The Seattle Mariners have a ton of power, need pitching and are running out of room with the likes of Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez joining the team.

    While Smoak has been highly inconsistent the past few years, he has shown glimpses of quality play, especially in the power department.

    This deal is gaining traction each minute, so be sure to keep your eye on it.

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