1. St. Louis Cardinals trade for Todd Frazier. My first idea was to go after Justin Turner to play third base instead of Jhonny Peralta, but Turner is likely headed back to the Dodgers. Frazier, with one year remaining left until free agency, would be a fairly inexpensive get from the White Sox. Jhonny Peralta looked done last year and while Jedd Gyorko is coming off a 30-homer season, adding Frazier gives the Cardinals more depth and versatility with Gyorko able to slide over to second or shortstop and Kolten Wong an option in the outfield. Remember, the Cardinals have to figure out a way to beat the Cubs and avoid a wild-card game that could feature Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner or Noah Syndergaard.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers re-sign Kenley Jansen. This happened, with the two sides agreeing to a deal Monday afternoon! Yes, paying a closer $80 million certainly chafes the sabermetric bent of the front office, but Jansen is no ordinary closer, and the 2016 postseason showed the value of a closer who can get more than three outs. Considering top setup man Joe Blanton is also a free agent, the Dodgers would have been taking a big risk heading into 2017 without their top two relievers. One positive about Jansen staying healthy and effective throughout the life of the contract: He was a former minor league catcher, so his arm doesn't necessarily have the wear and tear of somebody who has been pitching since he was 12 years old.
3. Houston Astros trade for RHP Jake Odorizzi. After bolstering the lineup with the additions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Josh Reddick, the Astros should add one more starting pitcher. Deals for Jose Quintana or Chris Archer would gut the farm system, but Odorizzi -- 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016 – would be a little less expensive and still be under team control for three more seasons. He might still cost top pitching prospect Frances Martes and a couple of others, but the Astros need to improve a starting rotation that ranked eighth in the AL in ERA in 2016.
4. Seattle Mariners sign Edwin Encarnacion. This would be stretching the budget, but the window for the Mariners is now, and it appears Encarnacion has overplayed his hand. They’re unlikely to get 82 home runs again from Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, and while they could use a starting pitcher, the free-agent market has only risky veterans like Jason Hammel, Doug Fister and Derek Holland. Adding runs or subtracting runs: runs are runs. Maybe Cano (a friend of Encarnacion) and Cruz can persuade their fellow Dominican to come to Seattle. Plus, imagine a playoff matchup against the Red Sox featuring lefties Sale, David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez or Drew Pomeranz in the rotation: Adding another right-handed bat like Encarnacion would be huge. The Mariners were second in the AL in home runs in 2016 and third in runs, but this lineup could be a fun:
SS Jean Segura
3B Kyle Seager
5. The Colorado Rockies sign Mark Trumbo and keep Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies have already lost their first-round pick for signing Ian Desmond, and many think that’s a prelude to trading Blackmon and moving Desmond to center field. Or maybe they do intend on playing Desmond at first base. But once you’ve lost your first-round pick, you may as well double-down on a premium free agent because you’re only losing a second-rounder. Trumbo slots in at first, allowing Desmond to fill a Ben Zobrist-like super utility role. Yes, there’s value to trading Blackmon coming off his best season with a .324/.381/.552 line (including a higher slugging percentage on the road), but that’s why you keep him: He was actually slightly better at the plate than Nolan Arenado. If the team is out of it come July, then you consider trading Blackmon or Carlos Gonzalez; their trade value doesn’t really decrease between now and the trade deadline.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates keep Andrew McCutchen. This looks inevitable, as trade talks with the Nationals broke down, and they instead acquired Adam Eaton. Keeping McCutchen allows top prospect Austin Meadows more time in Triple-A, which he needs after hitting .214/.297/.460 there in 37 games. Keeping McCutchen -- I’d slide him over to left field -- allows him to rebuild some trade value as well if the bat comes back to MVP level. And if the bat comes back, who knows, maybe the Pirates find a way to contend.
7. New York Yankees sign Derek Holland. Holland hasn’t had a good and healthy season since 2013, but he’s the kind of starter the Yankees need to take a chance on to fill out a rotation that has a bunch of question marks after Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia. Adding depth to the rotation could allow manager Joe Girardi to move Luis Severino to the bullpen, adding a third power arm behind Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances.
8. Cleveland Indians re-sign Mike Napoli. Yes, signing Encarnacion is something to dream on, as his price continues to drop, but the more realistic scenario is bringing Napoli back on a much cheaper two-year deal. The Indians should already be getting an offensive upgrade with the return of Michael Brantley, and not spending big on Encarnacion keeps more payroll flexibility for in-season deals or the following seasons.
9. Toronto Blue Jays re-sign Jose Bautista. The saturated first-base/designated hitter market just isn’t there for Bautista, and I don’t see him signing with the Rangers -- who need a first baseman or DH -- and playing alongside his good buddy Rougned Odor. Jays fans love Bautista. He’s thrived in Toronto. The two sides reportedly spoke at the winter meetings, so the divorce papers on this marriage haven’t been signed just yet.
10. Chicago Cubs acquire Danny Duffy from the Kansas City Royals. Then sign him to a multiyear extension. The Royals have a slew of free agents after 2017, including Duffy, and the risk in making a run in 2017 is falling short and getting nothing in return for all these guys except potentially some compensation picks. Duffy, coming off a big season with a 3.51 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 179.2 innings, would have higher trade value than anyone else. For the Cubs, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are free agents after 2017, so this brings a younger arm to the rotation and puts less pressure to sign Arrieta to a megadeal.