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Alan Diaz/Associated Press

Major League Baseball's winter meetings may be over, but the shock from what transpired on Thursday may linger.

The final days of the event featured a flurry of deals involving All-Star players, as Matt Kemp, Yoenis Cespedes, Mat Latos, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Dee Gordon and Alfredo Simon were all included in separate trades.

Many teams considering whether to deal high-profile players this past week were ultimately swayed by offers featuring young players and prospects in return, with some clubs netting as many as three or four in some deals.

As a result, there was an unprecedented number of high-end prospects traded this week, and even more if you include the other deals made earlier in the offseason.

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Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The winter meetings concluded Thursday with the annual Rule 5 Draft, as 13 players were selected by new teams in the event's major league phase. 

Minor league players become eligible for the draft when they reach their fourth or fifth draft since beginning their professional careers, depending on their ages before signing. A player can only avoid becoming eligible for the draft by being added to his team’s 40-man roster before the aforementioned deadline.

Only teams with an available 40-man roster spot are eligible to participate in the event. On top of that, a team must pay $50,000 to claim a player in the draft and then keep him on the major league (25-man) roster for the entire season.

Here's a breakdown of the players selected in this year's Rule 5 Draft and whether they can earn a spot on their respective teams' Opening Day rosters in 2015. 

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The theme of this year’s winter meetings has been late-night deals, or at least it sure feels that way to those of us living on the East Coast.

The baseball world awoke Tuesday to learn that the Chicago White Sox had both agreed to sign David Robertson and traded for Jeff Samardzija, while Wednesday morning brought news of Jon Lester’s decision to sign with the Chicago Cubs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the overnight scene Wednesday (or Thursday morning) just hours after trading Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Miami Marlins as part of a seven-player swap, acquiring second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels and then agreeing to a four-year deal with free agent Brandon McCarthy.

Keeping track of the latest news and rumors can get a bit overwhelming, but we've got you covered with the live blog that follows.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are keeping the gang together.

Having already signed free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett earlier in the offseason, the Pirates agreed to bring back left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano on a three-year, $39 million contract on Tuesday, per Robert Murray of MLBDailyRumors.com:

According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the deal is the largest the Pirates have ever given to a free agent, surpassing the two-year, $17 million pact Russell Martin inked before the 2012 season.

The 31-year-old has been excellent in the Pirates’ starting rotation over the past two seasons, posting a 3.20 ERA and 3.26 fielding independent pitching (FIP) in 323.1 innings while making 55 starts.

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Delino DeShields hit 12 home runs and stole 101 bases back in 2012.
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After days of wheeling and dealing at Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings, general managers and scouting directors will cap the week with the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, Dec. 11.

Following the World Series, every team faced a late-November deadline to set their respective 40-man rosters so as to identify the prospects left unprotected for the December draft.

In a nutshell, minor league players become eligible for the draft when they reach their fourth of fifth draft since beginning their professional careers, depending on their age before signing. A player can only avoid becoming eligible for the draft by being added to his team’s 40-man roster before the aforementioned deadline.

Only teams with an available 40-man roster spot are eligible to participate in the event. On top of that, a team must pay $50,000 to claim a player in the draft and then keep him on the major league roster (25-man roster) for the entire season.

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Last week, the Cleveland Indians were said to have considerable interest in acquiring Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics, and it was widely believed the two teams would strike a deal before the weekend.

It took a few extra days, but the Indians and A's reached an agreement on the first day of the winter meetings, with the Tribe receiving Moss in exchange for second base prospect Joe Wendle, as reported by Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan:

Moss, 31, emerged as one of the sport's better power hitters over the last three seasons, as his 76 home runs from 2012-14 ranks 18th in the major leagues among all qualified hitters, per FanGraphs. He also batted .254/.340/.504 during that time frame, and his 135 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) ranked 20th overall across both leagues, ahead of players like Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and David Wright.

"The addition of Brandon Moss provides our offense with a proven run-producer and power bat for the heart of our order," Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti said in a release, via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.

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Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings are nearly upon us, with the events to be held on Dec. 8-11 in San Diego, California.

With front-office personnel and executives present from all 30 teams, the winter meetings typically produce both high-profile free-agent signings and blockbuster trades. And with every team evaluating their rosters for the 2015 season, prospects are often the deciding factor when it comes to an offseason deal.

In recent years, we’ve seen more and more teams be willing to trade their top prospects, like when the Royals dealt Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to the Rays prior to the 2013 season, which was also the same offseason that the Blue Jays sent Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud to the Mets.

And even though the deals that transpired last offseason didn’t involve as many big-name prospects, we still saw numerous highly regarded young talents, such as Matt Davidson, Michael Choice, Jesse Hahn and Robbie Ray, get moved in exchange for veteran players.

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At some point, the New York Yankees were going to have to sign or trade for a shortstop to replace Derek Jeter.

On Friday, the Bronx Bombers landed a potential long-term replacement for The Captain, acquiring Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three-team trade with the Detroit Tigers, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Though the Yankees were forced to part with right-hander Shane Greene, the hope is that the 24-year-old Gregorius, who will remain under team control through 2019, will be able to hold down the position for the next five years.

But with such big shoes to fill, are the Yankees asking too much of Gregorius?

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Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Although they usually don’t feature the same combination of big-ticket prospects and all-around depth as the Arizona Fall League, the various international winter leagues at least offer those of us going through offseason prospect withdrawal a temporary fix.

Compared to previous years, there are fewer top-ranked prospects participating in winter leagues this year. But as the countdown to spring training begins, it’s possible that more players will join the leagues as they look to get a head start on the 2014 season and hopefully improve their chances of making an Opening Day roster.

However, before next week’s winter meetings take center stage, I wanted to give an update on the performance of each team’s top prospect who has been playing in an offseason league.

For the sake of presentation, here is how the four main winter leagues will be identified in this article:

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“Who would you rather have: Yasmany Tomas or Yoan Moncada?” has become a popular question over the last month, mostly because so little is known about them outside the industry, but also because they are two completely different types of players at different developmental stages in their respective careers.

Tomas, who recently signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, is more of a known commodity after playing parts of five seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional and starring in international tournaments such as the World Baseball Classic.

The 24-year-old outfielder has been glorified for his sheer strength and prodigious power and is expected to make an immediate impact hitting in the middle of Arizona's lineup.

And then there’s Moncada, a 19-year-old infielder who has emerged as one of the more hyped prospects in recent memory and seems poised to command a record-setting signing bonus for an international amateur.