Bleacher Report Predicts Landing Spots for Top 25 MLB Free Agents, Trade Targets

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2016

Bleacher Report Predicts Landing Spots for Top 25 MLB Free Agents, Trade Targets

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    While there have been a few significant moves already in MLB since the World Series wrapped up roughly a month ago, things generally don't get going until the annual winter meetings, which are set for Dec. 4-8 in National Harbor, Maryland.

    There figures to be no shortage of blockbuster trades and notable free-agent signings during the upcoming event, but before that happens, let's make some predictions.

    What follows is a look at the top 25 free agents and trade targets on the market with predictions from six of our top MLB writers on where they will land.

    These six writers made up our panel of prognosticators:

    Having six writers weigh in gave us plenty of different opinions, and in the end we only had two consensus predictions among the 25 players.

    It will be fun to look back in a few months to see who got the most picks right, but for now, here's our best guess at how this year's free-agent and trade markets will unfold this winter.

OF Jose Bautista

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    Gruen (PHI): It appears the Phillies are trying to contend in 2017. They will need to make a big splash to do that.

         

    Knobler (SEA): It could take a while because he won't get what he's looking for. The Mariners might not be his first choice, and he might not be theirs, but they could be each other's best remaining option.

         

    Reuter (PHI): The Phillies have money to spend and the need for corner outfield help. Bautista would provide a veteran presence both in the lineup and in the clubhouse.

         

    Rymer (TOR): Bautista may have a big contract in mind, but this winter's market seems aligned to push him back to Toronto on a cheap deal.

         

    Shafer (SEA): He'd join Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz to create a formidable middle of the order, even if any deal longer than two years could be ugly on the back end.

         

    Weiner (SEA): Seattle's outfield is full of questions, and its lineup leans to the left. Bautista and his right-handed bat can help solve both those issues.

OF Carlos Beltran

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    Gruen (BOS): Word is the Red Sox need to replace a significant left-handed bat.

         

    Knobler (NYY): The Yankees liked Beltran and don't like the idea of tying themselves down with more long-term contracts. The 39-year-old Beltran won't get one of those.

        

    Reuter (HOU): Remember how good Beltran was the first time around in Houston? If he could even come close to matching the .926 OPS and 23 home runs he hit in 90 games with the team back in 2004, he'd be a welcome addition to the lineup.

        

    Rymer (BOS): It's easy to daydream about Edwin Encarnacion's stepping into David Ortiz's shoes, but Beltran comes with less risk and would help balance a Red Sox lineup that skews right-handed.

         

    Shafer (BOS): He won't replicate Big Papi's cartoonish swan-song numbers, but he's a proven postseason bat and has superlative career numbers at Fenway. Plus, he won't cost the years or dollars that, say, Encarnacion will.

         

    Weiner (BOS): Boston gives Beltran his best chance to win a World Series before he retires and is the most affordable outside option for the Red Sox to try to replace David Ortiz with.

OF Ryan Braun

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    Gruen (LAD): This makes too much sense to not get a deal done here. The Brewers could look to get pitching in return.

            

    Knobler (LAD): It's not an easy deal to make, which is why it didn't happen last summer. But a deal fits the rebuilding Brewers, and a trip home to Southern California is one Braun would no doubt accept.

              

    Reuter (MIL): The Brewers aren't going to move Braun simply to unload his salary after he posted a .903 OPS with 30 home runs. If the right offer doesn't come along this winter, he could be a hot commodity come July.

            

    Rymer (LAD): I'm biased, but a Yasiel Puig-for-Ryan Braun trade would be a dandy that would go a long way toward solving the Dodgers' weakness against left-handed pitching.

            

    Shafer (MIL): With multiple quality outfield options on the free-agent market, even post-Yoenis Cespedes, the Brewers seem more likely to wait until the trade deadline to seriously shop Braun.

            

    Weiner (LAD): There's no point in Braun's continuing to hang around a rebuilding Milwaukee club, and he'd surely approve of a deal that sends him back to his roots in Southern California.

RP Aroldis Chapman

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    Gruen (NYY): This seemed likely even after they traded him to the Cubs. Both parties have been vocal about their interest in one another.

        

    Knobler (NYY): The Yankees want guys who they know can handle New York. As with Beltran, Chapman proved it to them last year.

         

    Reuter (NYY): The ball has been rolling on this reunion since the moment the Yankees pulled the trigger on trading Chapman to the Cubs.

         

    Rymer (SF): Chapman is a perfect fit for a bullpen that too often made manager Bruce Bochy reach for the Tums in 2016, and which is also overdue for some velocity.

         

    Shafer (NYY): The Yanks need rotation help, but with so few difference-making starters on the market, they'll toss their resources into the pen instead and bring Chapman back to the Bronx. Plus, we know the fireballing Cuban hearts New York.

            

    Weiner (NYY): Chapman proved he can handle the New York spotlight last season and would give the Yankees their Big Three at the end of the bullpen along with Dellin Betances and Tyler Clippard.

RP Wade Davis

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    Gruen (WAS): The Nationals are in need of a closer. With the team looking to spend elsewhere in free agency, they'll need to get a trade done.

         

    Knobler (WAS): The Royals say they don't need to make a deal, but the Nationals do need to help their bullpen. They have the young talent to make it happen.

         

    Reuter (WAS): A package built around pitching prospect Erick Fedde should be enough to pry Davis away from a Royals team that is in serious need of financial relief and quality prospect talent.

         

    Rymer (KC): After his arm started barking and with so many quality relief pitchers available as free agents, the Royals won't get the attention they desire for Davis.

         

    Shafer (CHC): Davis pitched under Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay from 2009 to 2012. If the Cubs lose out on Chapman, they could make a play for the Royals reliever, possibly including outfielder Jorge Soler in their return package.

        

    Weiner (KC): The Royals want to try to make one more run with their current group. They can flip Davis at the trade deadline if they're out of contention.

OF Ian Desmond

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    Gruen (TEX): He had a bounce-back season after signing a one-year deal with the club last offseason. Manager Jeff Banister is high on him too.

        

    Knobler (TEX): They got a bargain last winter. Desmond won't be as cheap this time around, but now they know they like him.

        

    Reuter (SEA): The current corner outfield options for the Mariners—Seth Smith, Danny Valencia, Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia—aren't going to cut it. There's a ton of money on the books and no shortage of talent, so it's time for the M's to go all-in.

        

    Rymer (TEX): The Rangers could make a run at Andrew McCutchen but probably don't have the prospects to pull off a deal. Re-signing Desmond would be the next best thing.

        

    Shafer (SF): This would require yet another position switch, as Desmond would into left field next to Denard Span in center. Desmond did start 27 games in left for Texas in 2016, and his right-handed pop would be a welcome addition to San Francisco's lineup.

         

    Weiner (TEX): Desmond and the Rangers were a perfect fit last season. Neither side has a good reason for allowing that relationship to end.

1B Edwin Encarnacion

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    Gruen (NYY): Not buying the idea that the Yankees aren't going to be aggressive in free agency. He makes this lineup scary in a competitive AL East.

        

    Knobler (HOU): The Astros missed the playoffs, and they've already been aggressive at the start of the winter. Why stop now?

        

    Reuter (BOS): If they can't sign Carlos Beltran, the Red Sox could crank up their pursuit of Encarnacion. Aside from adding a few bullpen pieces, there are no other pressing needs for Boston, so it would be a good allocation of funds.

        

    Rymer (HOU): Even after taking on Josh Reddick, Brian McCann and Charlie Morton, the Astros have money to spend. They also have a first base opening and a ballpark that caters to right-handed power. So, yeah.

        

    Shafer (TOR): The Jays appear willing to open the purse strings. Now, it's just a matter of selling themselves on a first base/DH timeshare between Encarnacion and Kendrys Morales.

        

    Weiner (HOU): Houston continues its aggressive approach to the offseason, bolstering its lineup while plugging a hole at first base in the process.

OF Dexter Fowler

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    Gruen (TOR): This signing adds a capable leadoff bat in front of 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson. Fowler's glove makes this outfield sharper defensively.

        

    Knobler (WAS): They can move Trea Turner back to shortstop and team Turner and Fowler at the top of the order in front of Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper.

        

    Reuter (STL): Center field appears to be the No. 1 priority for the Cardinals, and a one-two punch of Fowler (.393 OBP) and Matt Carpenter (.380 OBP) would be awfully fun at the top of the lineup.

        

    Rymer (STL): The Cardinals need a true center fielder and a guy who could free up Matt Carpenter to bat lower in their order.

        

    Shafer (TOR): Whoa, Toronto is signing everyone! No, but after two straight futile trips to the American League Championship Series, the Blue Jays should be willing to do what it takes to remain competitive in the noisy, crowded AL East.

        

    Weiner (STL): Fowler is the perfect fit for what the Cardinals need: a solid defender and top-of-the-order hitter. Having him and Matt Carpenter hitting at Nos. 1-2 could be a supremely productive combination.

OF Carlos Gomez

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    Gruen (STL): The Cardinals are looking to add an outfield bat. They'd be banking on his return to 2014 form.

         

    Knobler (OAK): He was much better after the Rangers picked him up but could end up a low-enough cost option to be attractive to the A's.

         

    Reuter (TEX): Rolling the dice on the legitimacy of his bounce-back performance will be cheaper than paying up to retain Ian Desmond, who slumped badly in the second half.

         

    Rymer (CLE): Even with Michael Brantley due to come back in 2017, the Tribe's outfield depth is lacking. Gomez could fix that at a decent price.

         

    Shafer (TEX): If Desmond skips town, Texas will need to bolster its outfield. Gomez revived his season after arriving in Arlington; the good vibes could be conducive to a deal.

        

    Weiner (WAS): Gomez won't cost nearly as much as Desmond or Fowler but serves the same purpose for the Nationals, who can slide Trea Turner back to shortstop, ending the Danny Espinosa era.

SP Jason Hammel

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    Gruen (MIA): Miami is in the market for starting pitching. Hammel adds a stabilizing, veteran presence.

         

    Knobler (MIA): The Marlins already signed Edinson Volquez, but they still need help in the rotation.

         

    Reuter (SEA): The Mariners need a starter after trading Taijuan Walker. Hammel is capable of throwing 180-plus innings at a roughly league-average level, enough to make him one of the studs of this year's free-agent class.

         

    Rymer (TEX): Signing Andrew Cashner doesn't fix the uncertainty after Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish in their starting rotation. Hammel's ability to provide solid innings is just what they need.

         

    Shafer (MIA): The Fish need rotation reinforcements after the tragic death of ace Jose Fernandez. Unfortunately, the free-agent cupboard is bare, and Miami's farm system is devoid of high-profile trade chips. Hammel won't replace Fernandez—not even close—but he's a serviceable mid-tier arm who won't cost an arm and a leg.

          

    Weiner (NYY): He's not an ideal fit, given his penchant for serving up home runs, but he fills the team's glaring need for an experienced, serviceable starter.

SP Rich Hill

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    Gruen (LAD): Why not return to Dodger Stadium? It was the second-friendliest park to pitchers in 2016.

         

    Knobler (LAD): The Dodgers took him even when he wasn't healthy last summer. They'll surely want him back after he pitched well for them in the playoffs.

         

    Reuter (NYY): Even as they rework the roster, the Yankees will want to contend, and a rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda isn't going to cut it. A three-year deal for Hill won't hamstring their long-term plans.

         

    Rymer (NYY): Hill is a good target for Masahiro Tanaka opt-out insurance, and his contract wouldn't be long enough to bog down the Yankees payroll when the young guys start getting expensive.

         

    Shafer (HOU): After making the postseason in 2015 but missing the dance last year, Houston has been aggressive, adding Josh Reddick and Brian McCann to bolster the offense. Slotting Hill into the rotation could be the Astros' final step as they seek to regain a foothold among the AL's elite.

           

    Weiner (LAD): Injuries are a concern, but the Dodgers saw what Hill is capable of when he's healthy. Keeping him won't preclude the club from trading for another big arm.

RP Greg Holland

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    Gruen (NYY): Betances to Holland to Chapman? Pretty scary for AL East teams.

        

    Knobler (BOS): The Red Sox had interest in him when he was working his way back from Tommy John surgery last summer. Now he's ready to return.

        

    Reuter (CHC): Holland looks like the perfect insurance policy to Hector Rondon, who was lights out in the closer's role before struggling down the stretch after rushing back from a triceps injury.

        

    Rymer (CHC): Chapman's vacancy should be filled, and the Cubs can offer a chance for Holland to close for a winning team.

        

    Shafer (BOS): After getting swept by the Indians in the division series, Boston could try to replicate Cleveland's super pen by rolling the dice on Holland and his injury comeback in hopes that he plays the Andrew Miller to Craig Kimbrel's Cody Allen (or the other way around).

         

    Weiner (SF): He won't get the chance to close in San Francisco but will be a big part of a revamped bullpen in the Bay Area.

RP Kenley Jansen

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    Gruen (LAD): Manager Dave Roberts proved he knows how to get the most out of Kenley Jansen. The team has the money to spend too.

        

    Knobler (CHC): The Cubs say they may not spend big for a closer, but I'm not sure I believe them. Do they really want to go closer shopping at midseason again?

        

    Reuter (LAD): Jansen is simply too important to let walk, especially if Aroldis Chapman heads to the Yankees as most believe he will.

        

    Rymer (LAD): Unlike Chapman and Mark Melancon, his market will be held back by his ties to draft-pick compensation. The Dodgers don't have to worry about that and should also have the money to bring him back.

        

    Shafer (LAD): L.A. rode Jansen hard in the playoffs and would not have advanced deep into the National League Championship Series without him. Despite reports that they're financially handcuffed, the Dodgers will do what it takes to bring their All-Star closer back.

        

    Weiner (CHC): The Cubs made it clear last season that they don't trust Hector Rondon to do the job. They'll have no problem trusting Jansen.

2B Ian Kinsler

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    Gruen (DET): Ian Kinsler's no-trade clause will make it difficult to deal him this winter.

        

    Knobler (DET): The Tigers wouldn't mind trading Kinsler, but a partial no-trade clause (and an agent who says he'd need an extension to waive it) could keep him in Detroit. There just aren't that many teams looking for second basemen.

         

    Reuter (DET): The combination of his no-trade clause and a lack of teams in need of an upgrade at second base means he stays put for now.

        

    Rymer (DET): The Dodgers are a perfect fit for him, but they're better off taking Braun in a salary-dump deal than they are trading prospects for Kinsler.

        

    Shafer (DET): The Dodgers rumblings make sense, but Kinsler can block a deal to Los Angeles under his no-trade clause and would likely demand an expensive extension. Detroit could move him at the deadline if it's at the back of the pack, but look for Kinsler to begin 2017 in the Motor City.

         

    Weiner (DET): The Tigers would trade him but will fail to find the kind of package they seek in return.

OF J.D. Martinez

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    Gruen (SF): The Giants are looking to add a productive outfield bat. Martinez fits the bill.

        

    Knobler (TOR): Someone is going to need to replace the power lost with Bautista and Encarnacion leaving, and Kendrys Morales can't do it all by himself.

         

    Reuter (TOR): Martinez would help replace some of the missing thunder in the Blue Jays lineup. Entering the final year of his contract, he won't cost as much prospect talent as you might think.

         

    Rymer (SF): The Giants badly need a home run hitter. If they're going to sign Chapman, they have no choice but to look for one on the trade market.

        

    Shafer (PHI): The Phils were a nice surprise last season, blossoming ahead of schedule before wilting down the stretch. They shouldn't mortgage the farm for Martinez, who will become a free agent after 2017, but they could bring the 29-year-old in with an eye on an extension.

         

    Weiner (TOR): He'll help replace some of the production lost by the departures of Bautista and Encarnacion.

OF Andrew McCutchen

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    Gruen (WAS): With Trea Turner set to move to the infield, the Nats will have room for him.

        

    Knobler (CLE): McCutchen has the kind of contract the Indians should be able to afford, and Terry Francona may be the manager who can help him return to star status.

        

    Reuter (WAS): McCutchen to the Nationals is a rumor that seems to be picking up steam as the winter meetings rapidly approach. The Nats need an outfielder and have the prospect talent the Pirates will be seeking.

        

    Rymer (WAS): If the Pirates are as serious about trading McCutchen as the rumor mill says they are, it's hard to ask for a better trading partner than the Nats. The Pirates can load up on some of Washington's young arms, and the Nats would add yet another star to their stable.

        

    Shafer (PIT): This is a sell-low proposition for the Bucs. As with Braun in Milwaukee, they should hang on to McCutchen at least until the trade deadline and hope he regains his superstar form.

        

    Weiner (PHI): Philadelphia has the need for a veteran bat and the pieces to satisfy Pittsburgh's asking price. Besides, who doesn't love an in-state swap?

RP Mark Melancon

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    Gruen (SF): After leading MLB in blown saves, the Giants have to break the bank for a closer. Melancon is elite.

        

    Knobler (SF): Fortunately for the Giants, it's a good year to be shopping for a closer. Melancon could be their guy.

        

    Reuter (SF): The Giants can't afford to risk missing out on a top-tier closer while they wait on the markets for Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen to develop. Melancon has been every bit as effective closing out games, even if he doesn't have the same electric stuff.

        

    Rymer (MIA): Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Marlins are looking to build a "super pen" rather than try to find a replacement for Jose Fernandez. It's not a bad idea, and Melancon is the one big-name closer who could fit in their price range.

        

    Shafer (SF): The Giants need to upgrade their bullpen—not sure if you've heard. Melancon won't come cheap, but he won't cost as much as Jansen or Chapman, and he'll give San Francisco the reliable closer it lacked in 2016.

        

    Weiner (SF): He won't cost quite as much as Chapman or Jansen but delivers the same level of elite performance in the ninth inning, something the Giants desperately need.

1B Mike Napoli

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    Gruen (TOR): Mike Napoli is a cheaper option to replace the power Toronto will lose with the departures of Bautista and Encarnacion.

         

    Knobler (TEX): He's been to the World Series twice since leaving Texas. They haven't been back without him. Time for a reunion?

        

    Reuter (CLE): Napoli was too important to the Cleveland lineup and clubhouse not to be retained. The Indians prefer a one-year deal, and Napoli is looking for three years, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, so landing in the middle with a two-year pact seems reasonable.

        

    Rymer (NYY): The Yankees need an affordable veteran who can serve as an everyday DH and also be insurance for Greg Bird at first base. Napoli's the guy.

        

    Shafer (NYY): If Boston nets Beltran, the Yanks could turn to Napoli as a short-term, veteran option to balance their youthful lineup.

        

    Weiner (CLE): It'll force the Indians to get a bit out of their financial comfort zone, but Napoli was too important a part of their 2016 success to let him walk.

SP Ivan Nova

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    Gruen (TEX): The Rangers wanted to bolster their starting rotation at the trade deadline. They'll need to do it this winter.

         

    Knobler (BAL): Did Nova's success in Pittsburgh prove he's more of a National League guy? Perhaps, but in a market low on starting pitchers, the Orioles may need to take a chance it didn't.

        

    Reuter (MIA): The Marlins need to add someone to join Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley, Tom Koehler and the recently signed Edinson Volquez in the starting rotation. Nova is a someone.

            

    Rymer (SEA): Nova might be a reach for Seattle's finances. But the Jean Segura trade sent up a clear "win now" flag, and Nova would be a solid piece for a rotation that needs one.

            

    Shafer (LAA): With a barren farm system and reigning AL MVP Mike Trout in his prime, the Halos have to build a contender via free agency. Nova doesn't get them over the top, but he would bolster a starting corps riddled with question marks.

           

    Weiner (MIA): With former Pirates pitching guru Jim Benedict on staff, Miami bets that Nova can continue to pitch like he did down the stretch for Pittsburgh.

SP Jose Quintana

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    Gruen (CWS): I can't see a scenario in which the White Sox deal Jose Quintana and Chris Sale this winter. Waiting to deal Quintana could help drive Sale's price even higher.

        

    Knobler (HOU): The Astros have the young talent to make a deal, and Quintana wouldn't require parting with as much of it as his more-heralded teammate Sale.

        

    Reuter (CWS): Owed just $36 million over the next four seasons, Quintana has a contract that is among the most team-friendly in all of baseball. It will take a ton to pry him away from the White Sox, even if they make a move toward rebuilding, so he stays put for now.

        

    Rymer (CWS): Some of us would rather have him than Sale, if we're being honest. But Sale's the guy everyone wants, and Quintana's extra year of club control means there's no hurry for the White Sox to move him.

        

    Shafer (CWS): Even given the dearth of free-agent starters, the White Sox will have no urgency to move Quintana, an underrated lefty who is signed via team options through 2020. 

        

    Weiner (CWS): The White Sox will trade one, not both, of their big-time starters. Quintana stays, Chris Sale goes.

C Wilson Ramos

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    Gruen (LAA): Are the Angels a big move away from contending in the AL West? Wilson Ramos might be that piece.

        

    Knobler (BAL): Who's going to take a chance on a guy who had knee surgery and may miss the start of the season? The Orioles could be the team.

        

    Reuter (WAS): When the market for Ramos simply never develops, he lands back with the Nationals on a one-year, incentive-laden deal that includes a mutual option for 2018.

        

    Rymer (WAS): Ramos' future is cloudy thanks to the torn ACL he suffered in late September. The best guess is that mutual familiarity forces him back to Washington.

        

    Shafer (WAS): If not for the late ACL injury, Ramos could have incited a bidding war. Instead, he may return to the nation's capital on a shorter-term deal to rebuild his value.

        

    Weiner (BAL): Signing Ramos would block top prospect Chance Sisco's path to the majors, but Ramos is too good for the Orioles to pass up.

SP Chris Sale

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    Gruen (WAS): Pairing Chris Sale with Max Scherzer would give the Nationals the best starting pitching duo in the game. They have the prospects to pull it off too.

        

    Knobler (WAS): Can you imagine a rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Sale? The Nationals can, and they have the young talent to make it happen.

       

    Reuter (CWS): Are the Dodgers willing to part with Julio Urias? The Astros with Alex Bregman? The Red Sox with Yoan Moncada? The Nationals with Trea Turner? Maybe at midseason if they view Sale as the missing piece for a title run, but my guess is no one will be willing to meet the White Sox's asking price this winter.

        

    Rymer (LAD): The Dodgers have been on the fringes of the Sale rumor mill, but they have two things that can make them gravitate in his direction: a need for him in their rotation and enough young talent to get a deal done.

        

    Shafer (CWS): Same as with Quintana, but more so. The Sox will ask for the moon, stars and a few spare planets, and rightly so. Sale will probably be moved before his exceedingly affordable contract is up, but it won't be this winter.

        

    Weiner (WAS): The Nationals have the pieces needed to put a deal together and form what might be (on paper) one of the most ridiculous starting rotations we've ever seen: Scherzer, Sale, Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark.

1B/OF Mark Trumbo

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    Gruen (BAL): Mark Trumbo is a one-dimensional player. He hits homers. So the market may not be kind to him.

         

    Knobler (BAL): Camden Yards seemed to fit him well, didn't it? The Orioles certainly thought so.

        

    Reuter (BAL): Trumbo has no reason to leave an ideal situation in Camden Yards, and the Orioles still have a glaring need for corner outfield help. The four-year, $60 million deal that MLB Trade Rumors predicted seems reasonable for both sides.

        

    Rymer (BAL): It's hard to see a team that would want Trumbo as much as the Orioles, who have the homer-happy ballpark to squeeze long-term value out of him.

       

    Shafer (BAL): Baltimore got Trumbo on the cheap last winter, and it paid huge dividends. Now, he'll get paid handsomely to keep cranking baseballs into the mesosphere at Camden.

        

    Weiner (BAL): Like Ian Desmond and Texas, Trumbo and Baltimore proved to be a good match last season. There's no reason to think that won't continue.

3B Justin Turner

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    Gruen (LAD): This team should return to the playoffs. Justin Turner was a big part of Los Angeles' postseason push last year.

         

    Knobler (LAD): The Dodgers don't love the age (32), but they love the player. And he seemed to love playing in his hometown.

        

    Reuter (LAD): Unless they see a trade for Evan Longoria materializing, the free-agent alternatives—Luis Valbuena and Trevor Plouffe—are not great. It may take a bit of an overpay on a five-year deal, but it's a move that has to be made.

        

    Rymer (ATL): Bit of a dark horse here, but it sure feels like the Braves want to get at least one star player for their new stadium. Turner would be a good fall-back if they can't get Sale, and he would be a massive upgrade over [checks who's even playing third for the Braves these days] Adonis Garcia at the hot corner. 

        

    Shafer (LAD): Turner was quietly one of the better offensive third basemen in baseball in 2016 and should draw ample interest. He's also a Southern California native and a key cog in Los Angeles' offense. Barring another team's blowing him away with an overpay, he'll be back in blue.

        

    Weiner (LAD): He's the one free agent the Dodgers can't afford to lose. They've got the money to make sure they don't.

C Matt Wieters

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    Gruen (WAS): Maybe manager Dusty Baker can help him reach his potential. He is represented by Scott Boras, so expect some haggling here.

        

    Knobler (ATL): The Braves badly need a catcher, and they love guys with local connections. Wieters, of course, starred at Georgia Tech.

        

    Reuter (ATL): Ian Desmond fell into the Texas Rangers' lap last winter after his market never developed. It looks like Wieters could follow a similar path, and the Braves would be waiting with open arms to snap him up at a discount.

        

    Rymer (LAA): The Angels have a hole at catcher and a need for balance in a predominantly right-handed lineup. Wieters can fill both needs and shouldn't be too expensive.

        

    Shafer (ATL): Atlanta missed out on bringing McCann back via trade. Instead, the Braves can plug the hole behind home plate with Wieters, a four-time All-Star and noted former Yellow Jacket.

        

    Weiner (ATL): Ramos would be their preference, but the Braves need a catcher who can start on Opening Day. Wieters can do that, and he's a local product, which is always a plus.

        

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

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