After an explosive start to the MLB offseason, the hot stove has cooled considerably as of late.
Much of the inactivity is down to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Masahiro Tanaka. However, with that saga drawing closer to a resolution, both the free-agent and trade markets should pick up. For now, though, that means stars like David Price must wait in limbo.
Here's a rundown of the biggest buyers and sellers of the MLB offseason trade market.
Note: Salary information via Cot's Baseball Contracts on baseballprospectus.com.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been highly active this offseason, but the club isn't done making moves just yet.
The team is in the market to acquire a starting pitcher either via free agency or a trade. As Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports, the Diamondback's "top target" is Tanaka. However, aside from the Japanese right-hander, the club is hesitant to hand out a contract of more than three years to any of the pitchers on the market.
That stance suggests that a trade could be in order. Arizona still holds a major trade chip in right-hander Archie Bradley, who could be dealt as part of a deal to land a starter like Price or Jeff Samardzija. As Gilbert observes, though, "the team has thus far refused to part with him."
As a result, the Diamondbacks will have to wait for now as they scour the market for a starter at the right price.
As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes, there has been a noticeable lack of "buzz" surrounding the David Price trade market this offseason.
The Rays are in no rush to unload the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. For now, no team appears to be in a rush to match Tampa Bay's steep asking price. Heyman notes that the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodger—two of the teams expected to be in on Price—"painted pessimistic pictures of their chances" of acquiring the left-hander.
Heyman also reports that both the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees could be in the frame. While the Mariners have the young talent to pull off a deal, the Yankees simply do not.
As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports puts it, the Mariners have no choice but to keep on spending.
If the Mariners are done spending—if they truly are drawing the line after adding Cano and three lesser, oft-injured hitters—then the only thing that can be said about their plan is that there was no plan at all.
Rosenthal is correct. The infusion of Cano, Corey Hart, Logan Morrison and Franklin Gutierrez won't push the Mariners into contention in the fiercely competitive AL West. General manager Jack Zduriencik can still salvage the offseason by swinging a deal for an ace like Price or signing an impact hitter such as Nelson Cruz.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Mariners can "very easily" acquire Price if the club is willing to part with starter Taijuan Walker.
Jimmy Rollins is the latest Philadelphia Phillies player to hit the trade block.
As Buster Olney of ESPN tweets, the club is "very willing" to deal the three-time All-Star. Olney points out, though, that a potential deal would be complicated by the fact that Rollins has a no-trade clause. As with Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels—the other big-name veterans on the market—Rollins earns a hefty salary in 2014.
The shortstop makes $11 million next season with a vesting option for the same amount in 2015. As Corey Seidman of CSN Philly remarks, "If they want to rid themselves of his contract...they won't get much of anything in return." As Seidman writes, the "salary relief" could make it a worthwhile deal.
The Yankees need starting pitching. The problem is that their No. 1 target may never become available.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have yet to decide if they will post Tanaka. The lack of clarity in the Tanaka situation has stalled the rest of the market for starting pitchers. Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez all remain unsigned, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees "have shown no affinity" for any of those three.
Sherman suggests that instead the club could look to trade Brett Gardner for a starter like Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds.
With an abundance of starting pitching, the Boston Red Sox are in an ideal spot to pull off a trade.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster are the "most expendable," but John Lackey and Felix Doubront could also be on the trade block. As Rosenthal observes, Lackey makes for a particularly compelling trade piece. The veteran right-hander is owed slightly less than $16 million over the next two seasons due to an injury clause in his contract.
The best course of action for the Red Sox is to sit back and let the trade and free-agent markets for starters play out. Once the big names have been accounted for, the Red Sox should look to swing a deal with a pitching-starved team that missed out on its priority targets.
If you want to talk baseball find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.