MLB Rumors: Hottest Trade Rumors Entering Winter Meetings 2017

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 3, 2017

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 1:  Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins walks to the dugout striking out in the ninth inning of play against the Atlanta Braves, ending his bid for 60 home runs for the season at Marlins Park on October 1, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
Joe Skipper/Getty Images

There has been an unusual calm among all 30 Major League Baseball teams heading into the 2017 Winter Meetings, which get underway Sunday.

If there's going to be a storm of activity, it will begin when representatives for teams, agents and players all converge at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Marquee free agents will begin to sign deals, and trade activity will intensify.

The trade market this offseason looks to be where the intrigue rests, with an MVP potentially being dealt and players who need a change of scenery being put on the market to try salvaging their career.

Looking ahead to MLB's annual offseason extravaganza, here are the most notable trade rumblings to keep an eye on.


Marlins Strong-Arming Stanton

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Giancarlo Stanton, who became the first Miami Marlins player to win an MVP award in 2017, seemingly has all the power in trade talks by virtue of having a full no-trade clause in his contract.

Because the Marlins' new ownership group appears set on starting over from scratch, the franchise is reportedly taking a strong-arm approach in an effort to get Stanton to accept a trade quickly.

Per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Marlins have told Stanton if he refuses to accept a trade that their other top players would be moved to bring the payroll down.

Spencer noted within that report Miami's goal is to get its payroll around $90 million for 2018, with Stanton being owed $25 million next season.

Per Cot's Baseball Contracts, excluding pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, the Marlins have a total of eight players under guaranteed contracts in 2018. Martin Prado, Edinson Volquez, Dee Gordon and Wei-Yin Chen are the other names on Miami's roster owed at least $10 million next season.'s Jon Paul Morosi and Ben Weinrib reported the St. Louis Cardinals have made an offer for Stanton. Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported the San Francisco Giants made a trade proposal to the Marlins for Stanton and Gordon.

The Boston Red Sox have also been connected to Stanton, but Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported they are an "extreme long shot" to pull off a deal for the National League MVP because of Miami's asking price and the Red Sox's unwillingness to take on Stanton's full contract.

At 28, Stanton's stock should be higher than ever. He's coming off a career year at a great age to keep putting up big numbers and would drastically improve any lineup with his unique power-hitting ability.

The Marlins' problem is the previous owner, Jeffrey Loria, gave Stanton a 13-year contract that still has 10 years and $295 million remaining. Stanton has also had problems staying healthy, only reaching 140 games played three times in the past seven seasons.


Red Sox In on Jose Abreu

Jose Juarez/Associated Press

With the Red Sox needing to make lineup upgrades and not wanting to pay the price for Stanton, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu could be a nice alternative.

Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Red Sox are among the teams that have had talks with the White Sox about Abreu.

There's no way Boston can come out of this offseason without making at least one move for a power hitter. The team's offense scored 93 fewer runs, hit 40 fewer home runs and slugged 54 fewer points last season than it did in 2016.

David Ortiz's retirement played a huge role in that drop. As did injuries to Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Boston has a vacancy at first base, with last year's starter, Mitch Moreland, being a free agent and Ramirez best suited for designated-hitter duties at this stage of his career.

Abreu would have been the Red Sox's best hitter by far in 2017. His 140 OPS+ was 32 points higher than any regular in Boston's lineup last season (Mookie Betts, 108), and his .552 slugging percentage was 93 points higher than Betts' .459 mark.

The White Sox have embraced their rebuild by trading away seemingly every veteran asset they have had over the past 12 months. Abreu is 30 and likely won't be a highly productive hitter by the time their prospects get them back to relevance in the AL over the next three years.

Abreu has added value for teams because he's two years away from free agency and heading into his second year of arbitration.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is as aggressive as any front-office leader in MLB when it comes to making deals he think will improve the big league club. He's made blockbuster deals for Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale over the past two years.

The New York Yankees' rise back to prominence last season also puts pressure on Boston's front office to take bold risks now in an effort to maximize the window of contention for its core group of players.

Abreu is almost too good of a fit for what the Red Sox need for a deal not be consummated at some point in the coming weeks.


Nationals Watching Jordan Zimmermann

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers are another AL Central team going through a rebuild, but they are saddled with bad contracts that are making it impossible to fully embrace the long-term future like the White Sox have.

Per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Washington Nationals could help the Tigers out by bringing back Jordan Zimmermann to fill out their rotation.

Cafardo noted the Nationals "have some interest" in Zimmermann.

That is vague, likely for a couple of reasons. The first being Zimmermann's performance, which ballooned last season with a 6.08 ERA and 204 hits allowed in 160 innings over 29 starts.

Beyond what Zimmermann did on the field, though, is what he's still owed on the contract he signed with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season. The 31-year-old right-hander will make $74 million over the next three years.

If the Tigers are going to trade Zimmermann, it will likely require them to kick in a significant amount of money.

The Nationals know Zimmermann as well as any team in MLB. They picked him in the second round of the 2007 draft, and he spent the first seven years of his career with the franchise, finishing in the top 10 of Cy Young voting in both 2013 and 2014.

A change in uniform wouldn't suddenly bring back that version of Zimmermann, but getting him out of Detroit would be the best thing to at least help salvage what's left of his career.

The Nationals don't have a lot of options for the back of their rotation. Joe Ross had Tommy John surgery in July that could keep him out for most, if not all, of the 2018 season. A.J. Cole has had mixed results in 16 starts over the past two seasons, posting a 4.38 ERA.

Zimmermann may not be the solution to those problems, but his history with the organization could make him an appealing option if they can get him at a greatly reduced rate.


Contract info via Cot's Baseball Contracts.


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