The Hottest Questions of the 2015-2016 MLB Offseason, Post-Winter Meetings

Karl Buscheck@@KarlBuscheckContributor IIIDecember 11, 2015

The Hottest Questions of the 2015-2016 MLB Offseason, Post-Winter Meetings

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Johnny Cueto and Jose Fernandez are just two of the big league stars whose future has yet to be determined as the winter meetings recede into the background and the 2015-2016 MLB offseason rolls along.

    In addition to Cueto, there are at least a couple of prominent players who are still waiting to hit the free-agent jackpot. Meanwhile, Fernandez isn't the only dynamic major leaguer who just can't seem to shake all those pesky trade rumors.

    After taking an inventory of all the action in Nashville, Tennessee, here's a breakdown of the biggest questions (and answers) from the baseball week that was.

Where Is Johnny Cueto Going to End Up?

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    If you happen to be a big league general manager looking for a big time free-agent starter, then Johnny Cueto is your guy. Just ask his agent, Bryce Dixon.

    "You can always add an ace pitcher to your staff," Dixon told Zack Links of MLBTradeRumors.com at the winter meetings. "All thirty teams can use a Cueto."

    But they can't all necessarily afford him. Earlier in the offseason, the veteran right-hander turned down a six-year, $126 million offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks, per Buster Olney of ESPN.

    The heavy-spending Los Angeles Dodgers are one club who should have the necessary cash laying around based on the way the organization has dished out dollars in recent seasons. Plus, with a Zack Greinke-sized hole near the top of the rotation, the 29-year-old would be a logical fit on the mound.

    According to Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM, the Dodgers "remain interested" as the starter sits back awaiting his monster payday.

    The Answer: Dodger Stadium

Is Scott Boras Overplaying His Hand with Chris Davis?

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Super agent Scott Boras is in the process of trying to make Chris Davis one really rich dude.

    According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Davis' camp "is believed to be seeking" an eight-year deal in the neighborhood of $200 million. Right now, that plan isn't working.

    Per Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the masher's only reported offer is from the Baltimore Orioles for seven years and $150 million. As Encina noted, the O's aren't budging from their current offer and why should they?

    "Unless a 'mystery team' emerges where are all the Chris Davis suitors? No reason for O's to bid against themselves here," tweeted Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com.

    That's a spot-on assessment from Melewski. It's still only December. But considering that an eight-year deal would take Davis through his age-37 season, there's no guarantee that a mystery team will be materializing.

    The Answer: Yes

Has Yasiel Puig Worn out His Welcome in Los Angeles?

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Suffice it to say that Yasiel Puig is far from the most popular player in the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse.

    "He is the worst person I've ever seen in this game," one ex-Dodger who believes Puig is beyond redemption said flatly, per Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. "Ever."

    Ouch. That's one harsh assessment. That's also the kind of assessment that leaves Puig and the Dodgers at an unenviable crossroads.

    So here we are again, wondering what's next: Theoretically healthy and with something to prove, will Puig charge back in 2016 toward his second All-Star Game? Will MLB's investigation lead to a suspension? Or will the Dodgers pull the trigger on a deal?

    The underlying organizational fear in that last scenario, of course, is that Puig will recapture his 2013 highlight-reel self in another city for the low, low price of the $19.5 million he is owed over the next three seasons.

    Ultimately, money talks.

    As polarizing as Puig can be, selling low on the supremely talented outfielder, who is rebounding from an injury-riddled and miserable campaign, is bad business. And for that reason, expect to see the Cuban in right when the Dodgers take the field on Opening Day.

    The Answer: No

Where Is Jason Heyward Going to Sign?

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    And then there were three.

    As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote, the Washington Nationals have joined the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the chase for Jason Heyward. According to Heyman, the "word among some of the people involved is that Heyward already has a $200 million offer in hand."

    That's one generous offer for a guy who checked in with a good but not great .797 OPS in 2015—even if he is a defensive genius.

    As Heyman pointed out, the pursuit of Heyward parallel's the Nats' 11th-hour, $210 million dash for Max Scherzer last winter. Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM echoed that sentiment, tweeting that it's "hard to bet against [the team's owners the] Lerners after [the Jayson] Werth [and] Scherzer [deals].

    And Heyward could be a stalwart for years to come in Washington's outfield, which could be due for a shakeup in the not-too-distant future. Looking out onto the horizon, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted that Werth is a free agent after the 2017 season and Bryce Harper can depart the year after that.

    The Answer: Washington

Is Jose Fernandez Still Going to Be in South Beach When Opening Day Arrives?

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Franchise-type players like Jose Fernandez generally aren't left to dangle in the trade winds. But that's exactly what the Miami Marlins appear to be doing with the electric right-hander.

    "Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill changed his response from Fernandez 'is not available' during the [winter] meetings to 'if someone calls, we have to listen' on the way out the door," Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported.

    Instead of quashing the rumor, Hill appears to be indirectly inviting rival clubs to call up the Fish and make an offer. Plenty of teams have already done so. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, more than 20 teams have already checked in on the availability of Fernandez.

    With so many potential suitors out there, the Marlins are in the ideal situation to play teams off each other and reel in an absolute haul for the rising ace.

    The Answer: No

    Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and MLB.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.

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