The Hottest Questions of the 2014 MLB Offseason
Now that the Boston Red Sox have wrapped up the World Series, it's time to focus on what will occur during the Major League Baseball offseason.
From the Alex Rodriguez debacle to filling the remaining managerial vacancies, there is plenty to discuss. But which of these unanswered questions makes the list?
Find out as we outline the hottest questions of the MLB offseason.
Does Anybody Want to Sign Roy Halladay or Johan Santana?
There was a time not too long ago that Roy Halladay and Johan Santana were considered to be two of the best pitchers in baseball.
Now, 36-year-old Halladay and 34-year-old Santana are afterthoughts in the offseason plans for most of the dominant teams in the league.
Halladay, whose 2013 season was plagued by injuries, is a free agent and will probably not return to Philadelphia in 2014. Santana also recently hit the free-agent market, as the New York Mets decided to buy out the 2014 option that the left-hander had in his contract.
As both pitchers look to have one more shot at glory, they will most likely have to accept incentive-laden deals from teams that are not willing to invest a ton of money at the start of the season for the former Cy Young Award winners.
Which Stars Will Be Voted into the Hall of Fame?
After a year without any inductees, the Baseball Hall of Fame will surely see a few famous names enter its hallowed halls, but which players will it be?
Craig Biggio came close to earning a spot on his first attempt last season, and he should be one of the favorites to be enshrined in Cooperstown in 2014.
Entering the balloting fray this offseason will be Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent.
A few of the names listed above should be first-ballot Hall of Famers, and none of them should be affected by being negatively tied to the steroid era.
Some of the names that were associated with baseball's dark past, like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, will once again be on the ballot, but none of them will likely be voted in.
How Long Will the Dodgers Drama Continue?
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and the team's ownership are in the middle of a tense faceoff.
Mattingly was almost fired during the middle of the season, but thanks to a team revival led by Yasiel Puig, he is still employed by the Dodgers.
The Dodgers front office only made matters worse when they fired bench coach Trey Hillman, a good friend of Mattingly, after the team was eliminated by the Cardinals in the NLCS.
By letting go of Hillman, the Dodgers made the situation more awkward than it already was, and it led to more rumblings that Mattingly could still be out of a job.
Who Will Fill the Remaining Managerial Vacancies?
With Matt Williams being hired by the Washington Nationals last week, and Brad Ausmus taking over in Detroit, that leaves two teams still looking for the right man to run their teams.
Those two teams are the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners.
According to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus recently emerged as candidates, but Ausmus is now off the table. Haugh reported that the Cubs have now met with seven people for the vacancy.
In Seattle, MLB.com's Greg Johns reports that former Mariners second baseman Joey Cora is among a handful of finalists. General manager Jack Zduriencik has "talked with at least a dozen candidates over the past two weeks in Phoenix and now is zeroing in on a small group of leading contenders."
We should find out relatively soon who the next managers will be.
Where Will Brian McCann Land?
At 29 years old, Brian McCann is one of the best free agents on the market this offseason. Based on previous offseason deals, some team is surely going to pay up for the catcher, who turns 30 in February.
According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Giants and Cubs are interested in the veteran catcher as well as a few American League clubs, including the Rangers, Red Sox, Angels and Yankees.
If McCann moves to the AL as a designated hitter, he could command more money because he is still one of the better hitters in the game.
Who Will Splash the Cash for Masahiro Tanaka?
If you aren't familiar with the name Masahiro Tanaka yet, you might want to get in the know. Tanaka, 25, is the next great Japanese pitcher to make his way to the big leagues.
As Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan points out, Tanaka's arrival stateside comes at the perfect time since teams are looking to splurge in a market that has little to offer.
Another factor going into the decision-making process for interested teams is the success of Yu Darvish over the last two seasons with the Texas Rangers.
However, bidding and signing pitchers from Japan can end up being high-risk situations given the rapid disappearance of Daisuke Matsuzaka after he received a massive amount of hype and money before joining the Red Sox in 2007.
Will Clayton Kershaw Be Rewarded by the Dodgers?
Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game right now. However, there are questions about how much the Dodgers lefty is really worth, and if you believe the report from ESPN's Buster Olney, it could be as much as $300 million.
A pitcher earning that much money in one contract is unheard of in a day and age where the lifespan of pitchers continues to dwindle. Kershaw has proven during his career that he is one of the best players of his generation, but $300 million is a lot to invest in a single player.
The Dodgers just have to look across town to the Albert Pujols contract debacle to see how a big deal can go awry and come back to haunt a team.
How Much Will Robinson Cano Earn Next Season?
Speaking of players rumored to be rewarded with a massive contract, we have New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
Cano is another player who commands a contract that the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Justin Verlander and Albert Pujols were handed in the last decade.
There are plenty of potential suitors for Cano, as suggested by George A. King III of the New York Post, but will they pony up?
It would make sense for Cano to rejoin the Yankees. He will be the main superstar on the team with Mariano Rivera now retired and Derek Jeter looking to rebound from an injury-plagued year.
Seeing Cano don anything other than pinstripes in 2014 would seem odd, but stranger things have happened.
Will David Price Be Dealt?
With the starting pitching market being dominated by Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bartolo Colon, a trade for a premier starter will be the best way for contenders to acquire quality arms.
The hottest name on the trade block at the moment is Tampa Bay Rays southpaw David Price, who could be dealt by the small-market club before he reaches free agency.
There is plenty of precedent for a Price deal happening. The Rays have dealt away Garza and James Shields in recent years to receive quality prospects, like Wil Myers, in return.
While Price will come at a hefty price tag, he is more than worth making a trade for given his credentials.
One thing to remember about this process is that the Rays will only trade Price if they can attain a few top prospects in the deal, and that may turn off some potential trade partners.
What Will Happen to Alex Rodriguez?
Thankfully, the Alex Rodriguez verdict did not get announced during the World Series and overshadow a spectacular, but odd, six-game set between the Red Sox and Cardinals.
Despite how much all baseball fans want to avoid the ugly situation between Rodriguez and the folks at the MLB offices in New York, a verdict will probably be announced in the case before the 2014 season begins.
Back in August, Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season and the rest of the 2013 campaign, but as we all know, he chose an appeals process.
That appeals process has not yielded a decision yet, but whenever it does, it will be the biggest story of the offseason. It won't only affect A-Rod, but it will serve as a model for future disciplinary action as well.
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