MLB Winter Meetings Primer: Biggest Storylines, Teams And Players To Watch

Major League Baseball’s winter meetings are right around the corner, and plenty of juicy news and rumors will come out of the four-day event.

MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, so there won’t be lockout talks when the meetings start Monday, but trade talks and free agent rumors will dominate the conversation.

Here’s what to expect out of the winter meetings, which run from Dec. 5 to 8.

The New York Mets’ outfield
The Mets seemed to be preparing for Yoenis Cespedes to walk when they picked up Jay Bruce’s $13 million option for 2017, but they ended up signing the Cuban outfielder to a four-year contract worth a reported $110 million. New York has Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares in addition to Cespedes and Bruce, and the Mets reportedly are receiving varied interest from multiple teams. Per the New York Post’s Mike Puma, the Mets want to trade Bruce but (unsurprisingly) are getting more interest for Granderson.

Edwin Encarnacion
There are plenty of teams after Encarnacion’s services, and he reportedly received “two serious offers” already. The first baseman/designated hitter’s name is certain to come up plenty, as he’s expected to sign at or near the start of the meetings.

Trading aces
A handful of teams are looking to sell, and they could make some of the best starting pitchers in MLB available. The Detroit Tigers reportedly are listening to offers for anyone, including ace Justin Verlander and first baseman Miguel Cabrera. The Chicago White Sox have reportedly shopped left-hander Chris Sale since the non-waiver trade deadline, and even though their asking price is high, it’s hard to imagine nearly every team won’t come forth with their best offers. One team could seriously upgrade its rotation this offseason.

The New York Yankees
The Yankees have to make a trade for a big star, right? The Bronx Bombers loaded up on prospects at MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline — something they haven’t done in years — and traded catcher Brian McCann to the Houston Astros for two more prospects on Nov. 17. They now have the deepest farm system in baseball, and it’s hard to imagine the Yankees not using that to their advantage. Now, that doesn’t mean New York will land Mike Trout like some might believe, but it’s very possible, and maybe even probable, the Yankees wind up with a big name.

Andrew McCutchen
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished below .500 this season at 78-83 and are in need of a serious shake-up. McCutchen had one of his worst seasons, batting .256 with 24 home runs and 79 RBIs, but it wasn’t so bad that the Pirates won’t be able to bring in a big haul center fielder. Rumor has it the Buccos are “likely” to trade Cutch, and given the remainder of his contract averages out to just under $14 million a year for the next three seasons, plenty of teams should come running with offers.

Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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