Ranking the Top 10 Remaining Storylines of the 2013-14 MLB Offseason
Baseball has already seen a number of big stories this winter. Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners, and Prince Fielder was swapped for Ian Kinsler.
While a number of the top free agents are off the market, there are still many talented players who are looking for a new team.
There are a number of compelling MLB storylines for the rest of the offseason surrounding trades, free agents and suspensions, among other pressing topics.
10. Which First Baseman Do the New York Mets Trade?
The New York Mets have a pair of power hitting first baseman in Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, and it seems unlikely that they will both be on the team's Opening Day roster. Both players have had issues with strikeouts and hitting for a high batting average over the past few seasons, however.
With the free-agent market for first basemen looking bleak at this point, teams needing to fill the position will either have to swing a trade or try to go with internal options.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of those teams, and according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, they have been talking to the Mets about Davis. It would not be surprising to see a deal made at some point this winter.
9. What Happens with Nelson Cruz?
Jhonny Peralta's deal with the St. Louis Cardinals has shown that teams are not afraid to sign players who were caught up in the Biogenesis scandal.
However, the market for Nelson Cruz, another player who was suspended as a result of his Biogenesis ties, has been developing slowly.
Cruz has shown a lot of power in the last few years and slugged 27 home runs in 109 games last season. He is the type of bat that make an immediate impact on a lineup.
According to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times, Cruz is looking for at least $16 million a year. Coupled with the fact that whichever team signs Cruz will lose a draft pick, it appears as if Cruz will have a tough time finding a home this winter.
8. Will Clayton Kershaw Sign a Record-Breaking Contract?
Earlier this offseason Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw discussed an extension in the $300 million range. Kershaw eventually turned down the offer.
Such a contract would almost double CC Sabathia's $161 million deal with the New York Yankees and would be the largest contract in MLB history.
Kershaw is deserving of such a large deal based on his performance over the past six years. He has led the National League in ERA in each of the past three season and has won two Cy Young Awards. His dominance has been apparent, and since he reached the majors, Kershaw has a 77-46 record, a 2.60 ERA and 1,206 strikeouts.
7. Will Alex Rodriguez Play in 2014?
As a result of his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal, Alex Rodriguez was given a 211-game suspension, which would keep him out of baseball for most of 2014. He has appealed that suspension so he can play in the coming season.
According to Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, the arbitrator who heard the case is set to make a decision about Rodriguez in early January.
The Yankees are going to need to be prepared for either situation. If Rodriguez has his suspension upheld, then look for them to pick up a third baseman.
6. What Happens with the Yankees Outfielders?
After the moves they made this winter, the New York Yankees have more outfielders than they know what to do with. The team has Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells on their roster.
Even with the designated hitter spot, the Yankees really only have room for four or five of those outfielders on their roster. That means that the team will need to make a trade or two.
Ellsbury and Beltran are not going anywhere, so teams in need of outfield help will certainly be calling about the others on the Yankees roster.
5. Who Signs Stephen Drew?
There are a number of teams out there with a need at shortstop, and yet Stephen Drew is still on the market with no new contract in sight.
One of the reasons for this is the expected cost of signing Drew in both dollars and years. Another is the fact that teams will have to try to negotiate with Scott Boras to get a deal with Drew. Boras is known for getting outstanding deals for his clients.
Drew might end up hurting himself as a result of his contract demands this winter, and he might have to sign a one-year deal. It will be interesting to see if Drew lowers his demands or if a team is willing to step up and pay him.
4. Who Gets Voted into the Hall of Fame?
Hall of Fame voters will have to make some very interesting and difficult decisions as they fill out their ballots this winter.
There are a number of players with outstanding numbers such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but their links to performance-enhancing drugs bring up the question of if they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
In addition to these players, a number of qualified new names, such as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, are on the ballot for the first time.
It would be possible to argue that there are at least 10 players on the ballot this year who are deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame.
3. Is Matt Kemp Still a Dodger on Opening Day?
When healthy, Matt Kemp is one of the best players in baseball. He is a player with 40/40 potential who is a threatening middle-of-the-lineup bat. However, Kemp has played just 179 games over the past two seasons as a result of injuries.
In addition to his struggles staying on the field, Kemp is owed $128 million over the next six years. Given the Los Angeles Dodgers' crowded outfield situation, Kemp might end up wearing a new uniform in 2014.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today noted that the Dodgers spoke with a number of teams about Kemp at the winter meetings. Groundwork for a deal may have been laid during those initial negotiations, and the Dodgers might end up moving Kemp.
2. Will David Price Be Traded?
David Price is the type of pitcher who can make a playoff contender into a World Series champion. It is a big event when a pitcher of his caliber is dealt.
The Tampa Bay Rays are considering trading Price, but according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays might not be in that big of a rush to move their ace.
Tampa is going to need to get a massive return for Price, but there are teams such as the Seattle Mariners that might find the price is right. Earlier this winter, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reported the Mariners' interest in Tampa Bay's ace.
1. Who Will Sign Masahiro Tanaka?
After a lot of uncertainty and speculation, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times relayed the news that the Rakuten Golden Eagles made the decision to post Masahiro Tanaka this winter.
Tanaka is the top starting pitcher on the market, and based on his numbers in Japan, he will be highly sought after. Following a 24-0 season with a 1.27 ERA, Tanaka is in line for a payday in excess of $100 million.
New York Daily News writer Mark Feinsand has reported that the posting period for Tanaka will end on January 24. With so many teams interested in Tanaka, it should be very interesting to find out who comes out on top and ends up with him in their 2014 rotation.
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