The "Hot Stove" is about to get pretty damn hot in the coming weeks. The General Managers meetings and the start of the new league year will bring a lot of activity around the world of Major League Baseball.
While a couple trades have been made, everything else has been pretty quiet on this front since the San Francisco Giants wrapped up their second World Series Championship in three seasons about a week-and-half ago.
Let's take a look at some rumors around MLB.
Arizona Diamondbacks Shopping Justin Upton
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. General manager Kevin Towers has indicated a willingness to move the surplus of talent that Arizona has in the outfield. He traded Chris Young to the Oakland Athletics back in October, bringing back Heath Bell (RP) and Cliff Pennington (SS) in return.
Arizona now looks to be ready to deal Upton this offseason. According to Ben Rosenthal over at Fox Sports.
"Major-league sources.... say the team is again engaged in active discussions about Upton, and one estimates the chances of him playing elsewhere next season are "80-20."
Interestingly enough, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, both in need of an outfielder, were on Upton's no-trade list during the summer. That being said, reports indicate that neither are on that list this winter. Boston, who has multiple holes to fill in its lineup could be a possible destination.
Bob Nightengale of The USA Today is reporting that Arizona wants Texas Rangers' shortstop Alvin Andrus in exchange for Upton. I just don't see that being a viable option for the D'backs at this point. However, infield prospect Jurickson Profar could be an option. Texas is presuming to be targeting Upton as a possible replacement for free agent Josh Hamilton, who is unlikely to return to Arlington.
A's Not Looking to Trade Young Starter
Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane has ruled out trading and of his young starting pitchers for a shortstop. The A's traded away Cliff Pennington in the aforementioned Chris Young deal and declined to pickup the $10 option on Stephen Drew for the 2012 season. As of right now Oakland really doesn't have a viable starting shortstop or anyone even remotely close to play that position in the minors.
The free agent market is extremely thin at this position with Drew and NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro as the top two players. Reasoning indicates that if Oakland can't afford Drew, it won't be able to get in on the Scutaro sweepstakes. However, there are multiple trade options available to Beane and company. They kicked the buckets on Yunel Escobar during July's trade deadline. The Toronto Blue Jays shortstop is likely available for relatively cheap in a trade. A more likely scenario is Oakland trading one of its many starter caliber outfielders for a starter at short.
Is Elvis Andrus Really on the Market?
There have been reports that Boston and Toronto could make a one-for-one deal, sending Andrus to the Red Sox for Jacoby Ellsbury. I just don't see that making much sense from either side. Boston is looking for outfielders with Ellsbury being their only true starter remaining on the roster. Why would they look to flip him for a middle infielder? Meanwhile, Texas could get a whole heck of a lot more for Andrus if they decide to trade him and go with youngster Jurickson Profar at short.
Cleveland in Selling Mode
Jon Heyman over at CBS Sports has indicated that the Cleveland Indians could be sellers during or after the meetings that are currently taking place. Cleveland has a surplus of talent and may be looking to enter full-scale rebuild mode.
Among the players that could be moving on from Ohio are: Justin Masterson (SP), Shin-Soo Choo (OF), Chris Perez (RP) and Asdrubal Cabrera (SS). Each one of these players would draw a tremendous amount of interest on the trade market. Heyman goes on to suggest that the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox could be possible suitors for multiple players here. Meanwhile, there is bound to be mentions of Cabrera landing with the A's, who I noted before are in the market for a shortstop under team control. Chris Carter, who can play corner outfield positions, and a minor league starting pitcher might be a nice package for the shortstop. Of course that is just pure conjecture on my part.