During the MLB offseason, there will be a flurry of rumors that fly around connecting players to new teams and potential trade partners. Most of these rumors turn out to be false, but there are certainly a few that turn out to be right every single year.
A lot of these rumored connections make a lot of sense for both sides. General managers will be looking to turn their teams into championship contenders with the moves they make this winter.
Keep an eye on the following players and teams because these potential deals should happen at some point this winter.
There was a time when it looked like Ike Davis would be a premier first baseman in the National League, but his struggles the past two seasons have made that seem far from a reality. Davis could certainly benefit from a change of scenery, so a deal out of New York may be inevitable.
Joel Sherman of The New York Post has suggested that the Mets might be able to trade Davis to the Milwaukee Brewers for Norichika Aoki.
This deal is one that makes a lot of sense for both parties. Davis would give the Brewers a power bat at first base that they have been missing since Prince Fielder left. For the Mets, Aoki would be a good leadoff hitter for the Mets and could be a table-setter for their revamped lineup.
One of the reasons that the New York Yankees missed the playoffs this season was because of the struggles of their starting rotation. As a team, their starters collectively had a 4.08 ERA, which was the 18th best mark in the MLB.
With Andy Pettitte's retirement, Phil Hughes' struggles and Hiroki Kuroda hitting free agency, the Yankees are going to need to find a starter. Masahiro Tanaka could very well be their answer. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has noted that the Yankees are going to make Tanaka one of their top priorities this winter.
Based on his dominance in Japan, it is going to take both a large posting fee and a big contract to sign Tanaka. He may very well be worth all the money based on his 1.27 ERA and 24-0 record in Nippon Professional Baseball League this past year.
Bringing in Mike Napoli on a one-year deal was an outstanding move by the Boston Red Sox. Not only did Napoli contribute on the field to the tune of a .259 batting average, 23 home runs and 92 RBI, but he was also a leader in the clubhouse.
He is now a free agent, but he has told Tony Lee of ESPN Boston that he wants to return to the team. The team has already made him a multi-year offer, but according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Napoli is looking at what other teams will offer him.
Based on how the city of Boston has embraced Napoli, it is hard to see him leaving unless he gets another offer that blows the Red Sox out of the water. The team will likely get a chance to match any offer that Napoli gets, so it would be surprising if he is not back in Boston next year.
Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, A.J. Burnett has gotten his career back on track and has looked like a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Burnett finished this season with a 3.30 ERA and 10 wins.
Despite his strong numbers, Travis Sawchik of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes that Burnett is undecided on whether to come back to pitch in 2014 or to retire. It seems hard to believe that Burnett will hang up his cleats after such a good season.
At age 36, Burnett certainly still has some gas left in the tank. Despite the fact that Burnett has earned more than $100 million during his career, it might be hard for him to turn down an offer for more than $10 million a year.
The past two seasons have been a bit of a struggle for Dan Haren, and as a result he may look for a one-year deal this offseason so that he can reestablish his value and hit the open market once again next winter.
Haren grew up in California and spent more than two years playing for the Los Angeles Angels, so returning to his home state may make him more comfortable and improve his performance.
Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle has noted that the San Francisco Giants are considering Haren this offseason.
Haren could slot into the Giants rotation behind Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. He would be a very strong No. 4 and would help the Giants contend with the Los Angeles Dodgers.