Destination Speculation; Winter Meetings Edition

We are officially to the annual GM winter meetings, which means executives from every MLB organization will get together and is also a time where we usually see the most offseason activity amongst all 30 clubs around the league(it also includes the Rule 5 draft, which is held on the last day of the meetings).

With that being said, rumors will be all over the place pertaining to free agents and trade candidates alike. There’s always that move or two that will catch us all off guard, so it’s important to keep up with the latest news concerning each team around baseball, including the team you root for, because well, you never know. Here we will speculate on places we could see some oft-talked about players potentially going during the upcoming week. First we start with:

-Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer

The Cleveland Indians have been one of the most talked about teams thus far, due to their desire to shop starters Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was just signed to an extension which makes him less likely to be traded, but that still leaves Kluber and Bauer. Both would fetch potentially huge returns in trades and Cleveland will not settle for anything less than a large return. Teams we’ve heard discussing the Indians’ starters so far have been the Mets and Dodgers. Other speculative fits could also be the Braves, Padres, Reds, Phillies, and Astros. Perhaps Houston namely, could include Kyle Tucker in a deal for Kluber or Bauer due to the Indians’ desire to acquire some outfielders.

-Noah Syndergaard Trade?

Rumors have swirled around Syndergaard thus far, to the point where multiple teams have discussed players with the Mets however no deal has come to fruition. Since then, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made it known he doesn’t intend on dealing the Mets No.2 ace unless a massive offer comes along. Could he get dealt? The Padres have been the most aggressive team on Syndergaard yet Mets brass has insisted San Diego include one of Fernando Tatis Jr or Mackenzie Gore as part of a trade package that, unsurprisingly, the Padres don’t want to offer. The same teams listed above in the Kluber/Bauer section could be in on Syndergaard, but the Mets surely wouldn’t deal “Thor” to the Braves or Phillies. Don’t be surprised if he gets dealt despite Mets management saying they are unlikely to deal him.

-Does Dipoto Continue Dealing?

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been wheeling and dealing over the past several weeks, both building up the farm system and adding young, MLB ready talent. While Seattle has already dealt most of its top trade chips, could Dipoto still surprise us by biting on an offer for star outfielder Mitch Haniger or perhaps starter Marco Gonzales? We will find out this week. Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, and other high priced veterans recently acquired have been talked about already too. Don’t underestimate dealin Dipoto, he always has something up his sleeve.

-Bryce Harper and Manny Machado Sweepstakes:

It’s not entirely known if Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado will sign at the winter meetings but if they do, expect record contracts like we’ve all predicted. It will surely be fascinating to see who will end up with one of these two(or even both).

-Yusei Kukuchi

He’s been posted by his home team in Japan, and while it’s unlikely he signs during the meetings, whoever wins the bidding for his services will surely be adding a quality, young starter who can slot in well in any big league rotation. Expect west coast teams to have the most interest.

There will be A LOT more moves this week, including plenty of free agent signings(at least we hope due to last year’s free agent freeze), and trades will flow in with notable players such as Zack Greinke, J.T. Realmuto, and Madison Bumgarner potentially being dealt this week. It will make for another fascinating week this hot stove season so stay tuned and feel free to continue the discussion with your comments below!

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Yankees To Acquire James Paxton

In the first blockbuster move of the offseason, the New York Yankees have acquired starting pitcher James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners. Prized pitching prospect Justus Sheffield is among three prospects that will head to Seattle in return.

Paxton has been the ace of the Seattle Mariners pitching staff over the last several years and with Seattle looking to deal veterans off the roster, Paxton and his two remaining years of control was bound to be dealt at some point. Paxton was Seattle’s prime trade chip, thus explaining the reason for the big return.

In return, the Mariners are going to get one of the best pitching prospects in the game in Sheffield. Sheffield is a 22-year old left-hander who is ranked by MLB.com as the 31st best prospect in the game. He is also regarded as the Yankees No. 1 prospect. He split last season through multiple minor league stops, and compiled an outstanding 2.48 ERA in 116 innings. He briefly made his MLB debut with the Yankees, pitching in just 2.2 innings.

Sheffield has the potential to become a No. 3 starter and potentially even better based on his potential to have three-plus pitches once he’s in the bigs.

The Mariners also received right-handed pitching prospect Erik Swanson and outfield prospect Dom Thompson-Williams in the deal.

Yankees, Red Sox Out On Shohei Ohtani, Finalists Include Mariners, Giants

Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani has informed the New York Yankees that he will not be signing with them, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. The Yankees were considered favorites to sign him from the outset of this offseason’s Ohtani sweepstakes.

Ohtani was just officially posted on Friday and teams have been lined up meeting with Ohtani and his agent since and with the highest international bonus pool in MLB, among other advantages, the Yankees were in a good position to be favorites to land the two-way star from Japan. However, that is no longer the case now that Ohtani has made the decision to not sign with the team.

In narrowing his decision to some of the finalists, Ohtani’s decision has reportedly come down to the Giants, Mariners, and a few other teams. It seems we may be seeing the final decision on where the phenom will finally play next season.

UPDATE AFTER ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN:

The Red Sox are also out on Ohtani.