The 2012-13 MLB offseason is entering its last stages as teams look to finalize moves for the upcoming season.
There already have been plenty of significant moves this offseason—such as the Josh Hamilton free-agent megadeal with the Los Angeles Angels.
What about the deals that have yet to be made?
Of course, there is the Red Sox signing of Mike Napoli that has perpetually been on the shelf since its announcement in early December. Also, there has been plenty of Internet chatter surrounding Justin Upton and the numerous suitors who are rumored to be interested in trading for his services.
Will any of these deals be made or completed before the start of spring training in February?
As the offseason draws to a conclusion, let's examine five deals that should be done and completed before the start of spring training.
The Yankees could really use Michael Morse.
An offseason of austerity has seen the Yankees do little to address their need for a right-handed bat.
The Yankees are very left-handed in the outfield with Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, and Curtis Granderson. A player like Michael Morse would give the Yankees a capable right-handed bat, who could play both corner outfield positions as well as spell Mark Teixeira at first base.
Morse batted .291 with 18 home runs and 62 RBI with the Washington Nationals last season. A trade for Morse would also recoup some of the production lost by the departure of Nick Swisher.
Jack Curry of the YES Network said via Twitter that the Yankees have expressed interest in Morse, and both sides could commence trade discussions at a later date.
The Mike Napoli saga has been one of the most talked about stories this offseason, especially regarding the Red Sox.
The Red Sox and Napoli tentatively agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal back in December, but it has yet be completed. The holdup on the deal is due to concerns about Napoli's hip.
ESPN's Jim Bowden said via Twitter that the Red Sox would like Napoli to agree to a one-year guaranteed deal. The Red Sox are wary of offering long-term deals to players who could miss time due to significant injuries.
The Red Sox should compromise and offer Napoli a two-year deal, with an option for a third year. With spring camps opening in just about a month, the Red Sox would be wise to take care of this situation.
The Mariners could use a young slugger who has the potential to be a perennial All-Star. That fact was almost addressed recently when the Mariners just missed pulling off a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Justin Upton.
Upton would end up vetoing the deal.
Upton's trade denial came on the heels of an earlier attempt by Mariners to secure a trade for Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports, the Mariners did approach the Marlins about Stanton but nothing was agreed upon.
A trade for Stanton would give the Mariners the young power-hitting centerpiece they have been looking for since the departures of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez nearly a decade ago.
Stanton, 23, hit .290 with 37 home runs and 86 RBI with the Marlins last season.
The Rangers failure to re-sign Josh Hamilton to a new deal could potentially jeopardize their current three-year postseason streak.
The loss of Hamilton and his production (.285 BA, 43 HR, 128 RBI) is bad, but losing him to AL West rival Los Angeles Angels could prove to be devastating.
The Rangers made efforts to retain Hamilton, but he ultimately chose to sign a five-year, $133 million deal with the Angels.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has expressed interest in Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton for some time now but nothing has materialized. Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News said the Rangers have decided to move on from their pursuit of Upton.
Losing Hamilton and not replacing his production will make it difficult for the Rangers to contend in the AL West.
The Mets are in the midst of a rebuilding period that has seen the departure of players such as R.A Dickey, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. In the process, the Mets have grown younger with the acquisition of prospects such as Travis d'Arnaud and Zack Wheeler.
How about adding for Justin Upton?
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said via Twitter the Mets would be "happy to re-engage" the Arizona Diamondbacks in talks about the possibility of acquiring the slugger.
The Mets would undoubtedly have to offer a pitching prospect such as Wheeler to have any chance of completing any deal. Giving up young pitching is always a risk, as was in the case of the infamous Victor Zambrano-for-Scott Kazmir deal. However, the Mets could use a young player with the upside of Upton to build their outfield around.
Currently, the Mets have Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter and Collin Cowgill slated to compete for the three outfield spots. Upton would be a significant upgrade over those incumbent players and add some excitement to the Mets roster for 2013.