ESPN.com's MLB experts have weighed in with some bold predictions on what's about to go down this week at baseball's winter meetings in Nashville:
The Houston Astros have been quiet this offseason, but they have the financial flexibility and minor league system to make some big moves. First, they're going to trade for Reds closer Chapman to lock down those late innings and create more depth. Then comes the big move: They sign first baseman Davis to a five-year, $115 million contract, giving them the big left-handed bat they need. They can then trade first-base prospect A.J. Reed for a young, controllable starting pitcher.
Mark Saxon: Dodgers will deal Yasiel Puig
The Los Angeles Dodgers will find a way to trade Puig for a young starting pitcher, preferably a right-handed one. There's enough thirst for right-handed power and intrigue in Puig's enormous talent that at least one team will be willing to part with a young arm. The Dodgers can live with Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier in the corners of their outfield for another season with Scott Van Slyke and Enrique Hernandez available against left-handed pitchers. The Dodgers would rid themselves of a divisive clubhouse presence and stick to their stated program of building with young talent and retaining future payroll/roster flexibility.
Jerry Crasnick: Mike Leake to St. Louis for four years, $60 million
Yes, the Giants and Diamondbacks are both pursuing Leake. But the Cardinals have more of a crying need for a starter, and Leake would be a solid addition sliding in after Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez in manager Mike Matheny's rotation. He's athletic and durable, and he wouldn't require the Cards to surrender a draft pick as compensation. He makes sense for St. Louis on multiple levels.
Jim Bowden: Padres will trade James Shields to Cubs
This is my final prediction for the winter meetings, I promise. I have no inside information, nor do I have any knowledge of any conversations the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs have had regarding Shields. This is really more of a Hail Mary prediction for me with 10 seconds left until the winter meetings commence. The Padres want to move Shields, and the Cubs need a fourth starter. Why this makes sense for the Cubs is that they would only have three years of a commitment for Shields, they would only have to give up a good prospect -- not an elite one -- to get him and their manager, Joe Maddon, is a huge proponent of Shields and his leadership. The Padres would have to eat a significant amount of his contract to make a deal like this work, but if they can shed most of his contract and get a good prospect in return, it makes sense for them, too. A Cubs rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey and James Shields should put them in a much stronger position to win a World Series in 2016 while keeping all of their top prospects.
Jesse Rogers: Cubs will free up money for free-agent prize
I predict the Cubs will make a trade by the end of the winter meetings. The only question is if it's for a reliever, starter or center fielder. The perfect deal may entail moving money in the form of Starlin Castro's contract to bring in a young starter while freeing them up to spend more in free agency -- perhaps for Jason Heyward. Javier Baez is also attractive to teams as he comes cost-controlled for half a decade. The Cubs won't spend a lot of money on a reliever, though they would like to fortify their bullpen one way or another.
Jayson Stark: Nationals will blow up their bullpen
The Nationals will trade Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon this week, capping off their bullpen overhaul by dealing for Aroldis Chapman. The Nationals appear to have plenty of interest in Storen, from a group that includes the Cubs and Astros, but such limited interest in Papelbon that they're offering to pay a big chunk of his salary. Not sure if this means anything, but the Cubs aren't one of the teams on his no-trade list, and they had interest in him last summer.
Andrew Marchand: Yankees will part ways with Andrew Miller
The New York Yankees are skipping the big free-agent market, but I don't think they will stand completely pat. To acquire the young starting pitcher they crave, they will give up closer Miller. While Miller was excellent in his first year in New York, he is the most valuable player they are willing to give up -- and that teams would want. Miller has three years and $27 million left on the contract he inked last winter. That is very reasonable for a top-tier closer. The Yankees seem to be working more toward 2017 than 2016. By acquiring younger players for Miller, they will have more young talent to combine with Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge as the future nucleus blossoms. Plus, the Yankees can just slide Dellin Betances into the closer role while picking up a couple of relievers this winter to bolster the bullpen.
Wallace Matthews: Yankees won't trade Miller, but they will deal
I have an enormous amount of respect for my colleague, Andrew Marchand, but I must differ with his opinion that the Yankee most likely to be an ex-Yankee by the end of the winter meetings will be Miller. From conversations I've had with baseball officials familiar with the club's thinking, it seems far likelier that the Yankees will trade either Brett Gardner or Ivan Nova, or possibly both, before Miller. In fact, one source told me the Yankees "are looking to move Nova" this week, and that the club "would have to be overwhelmed" to part with Miller, who had an excellent first season as the Yankees' closer in 2015. His $9 million yearly salary (for the next three years) is a bargain, whereas Gardner's $13 million price tag, also for three more years, seems a bit high for what he gives them. The Yankees are looking to add a young starting pitcher via trade rather than free agency, as they did with Nathan Eovaldi last winter, and maybe a package of Gardner and Nova gets it done.
Adam Rubin: Ben Zobrist will be headed to Queens
The New York Mets had a face-to-face meeting with free-agent utility player Zobrist on Wednesday, including showing him suburban living options in Westchester and Connecticut that may be attractive to his family. And on Friday, team officials spoke with confidence that Zobrist may end up signing with the organization, primarily to play second base, where he would succeed Daniel Murphy. Zobrist's decision may come during the winter meetings. Given the Mets officials' confidence, perhaps Zobrist -- who is from Tennessee -- will be on hand for a news conference in Nashville as the Mets introduce their newest player.
Eddie Matz: Orioles will sign Scott Kazmir
I have no insider info here, so this is purely a hunch. Yes, Kazmir is out of what would typically be Peter Angelos' price range, but given the market dictated by the gazillion dollars already spent on David Price and Zack Greinke, so is pretty much every starter. Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy would come slightly cheaper, but they're both righties. For the extra couple million a year, Dan Duquette will stretch for Kazmir -- one of the only lefty starters remaining on the market -- to replace Wei-Yin Chen and be the sole southpaw in the Birds' rotation.
Katie Strang: Tigers will sign a reliever
With the flurry of activity in Detroit this past week, including the five-year, $110 million deal awarded Jordan Zimmermann and the pending deal to ink Mike Pelfrey, Tigers general manager Al Avila has gotten out of front of the competition in advance of the winter meetings. Already this offseason, the first-year GM has added a pair of starting pitchers, a bona fide closer (via a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez) and a much-needed outfielder (in a swap with the Braves that has Cameron Maybin returning to the Tigers organization). What's left? Expect Avila to use the next week to further bolster his bullpen. Two names to keep an eye on? Shawn Kelley and Tommy Hunter. Hunter has a connection to Avila (his son, Alex, played with Hunter at Alabama) and the Tigers have shown a "sincere interest" in him, a source told ESPN.com. Don't be surprised if the Tigers also seek extra depth among the class of non-tendered players that officially became free agents this week.
Doug Padilla: White Sox will shop Jose Quintana
The Chicago White Sox have been known to employ varying strategies during recent offseasons, yet if one prediction can be made in regard to the winter meetings it is that trade rumors will begin to develop around starting pitcher Quintana. It isn't as if the White Sox want to trade Quintana, but the left-hander does have big-time trade value with his 3.46 ERA over four seasons, as well a team-friendly contract that will pay him $5.4 million next season on a deal that could extend as far as 2020. The White Sox have needs at third base and shortstop and could turn Quintana into at least one major league ready infielder. It doesn't mean a Quintana deal will go down at the meetings, or even during the offseason, but the expectation is that teams interested in Quintana's services will surface.