Two weeks before Christmas and the hot stove was blazing; Zack Greinke signed with the Dodgers, Josh Hamilton joined the Angels, and the Tigers brought back Anibal Sanchez.
As we neared the holidays, the hot stove simmered down a bit, but the market stayed active with the Indians making a splash by signing Nick Swisher, the Red Sox trading for Joel Hanrahan and the Diamondbacks surprising everyone to land Cody Ross.
Since Christmas and into the new year, however, the hot stove has come to its typical lull. The biggest move recently was by the Cubs, who locked up Edwin Jackson to a four-year, $52 million deal.
Other than that, there have been a few interesting signings, but nothing has generated shock waves through the league.
It is this period of tranquility in early January, combined with the start of the NFL playoffs, which often leads to most fans putting the hot-stove talk on the back burner. People often forget there are still quality free agents on the market—the type of guys who can still change a team's fate for the upcoming season.
The remaining free-agent market isn't laden with superstars, and it is fairly thin at certain positions—as you will soon see—but there are still enough impact players available to make the weeks leading up the start of spring training very interesting.
The change in free-agent compensation rules, requiring teams not picking in the Top 10 of next year's MLB draft to surrender their first-round picks to sign a player to whom a qualifying offer was made, has resulted in players who would have often been signed months ago remaining free agents.
The difficulty of signing these players by the perennial contenders who seek their services—but would have to sacrifice a first-round pick—has led to discussions on the possibility of teams making sign-and-trade deals—the type of thing you usually only hear about in the NBA.
Regardless, there are still four top-tier free agents who were offered qualifying offers by their 2012 teams who remain on the market. They are joined by a number of middle-of-the-rotation quality pitchers, a deep bullpen and several respectable hitters.
This slideshow will compile the best possible 25-man roster for 2013 using the top remaining free agents. I'll take a look at how the players fared last season, what you can expect from them in 2013 and who are their most likely suitors.
It may not be a playoff-contending squad, but I'm confident they could beat the Astros in a seven-game series. That's not saying much, but there is still enough talent on the market that avid fans should still keep an eye on hot-stove rumors right up until catchers and pitchers report.
If you think I left off someone who belongs on the team, feel free to include any suggestions in the comment section.