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10 reasons why this Hot Stove will be among best

MLB.com @RichardJustice

One of these days, we're going to look back at this offseason and see it as maybe the greatest, hottest Hot Stove of them all. Never mind that things are a little sluggish here at the start. That just means that when things start rolling, they'll roll like never before.

We'll be begging teams to take a coffee break to let us get our minds around all the action. Whenever there's a flurry of action in future years, we'll nod our heads knowingly.

One of these days, we're going to look back at this offseason and see it as maybe the greatest, hottest Hot Stove of them all. Never mind that things are a little sluggish here at the start. That just means that when things start rolling, they'll roll like never before.

We'll be begging teams to take a coffee break to let us get our minds around all the action. Whenever there's a flurry of action in future years, we'll nod our heads knowingly.

"Yeah," we'll say, speaking in unison, "this is OK, but you should have been around for the offseason of 2017-18. Now that stove was hot."

Hot Stove Tracker

I have no idea when the dominoes are going to start falling. But when they do, look out.

Here are 10 reasons why:

1. The National League Most Valuable Player Award winner is on the trade block. In a normal offseason, Giancarlo Stanton would be the only story worth following. Until his status is clear, the Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox and more may hold off pursuing free agents. That's the power of 59 home runs.

2. The most intriguing Japanese player in history is on the market. Wait, did I say Japanese player? If this was just about Shohei Ohtani wanting to be both a pitcher and a hitter, that would be enough. But his impact is going to be felt throughout the game. Every year, scouts debate whether a handful of college players should be pitchers or hitters in the Major Leagues. That conversation will be different. If Ohtani can do it, why can't that kid from Vanderbilt or Arizona or Stanford do it, too?

Video: Sherman on how new MLB schedule will affect Ohtani

3. The Giants lost 98 games in 2017. This is the franchise that has won the World Series three times in the past eight seasons and has ace Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey in their prime. To say San Francisco is motivated buyer is an understatement.

4. The Cardinals have finished behind the Cubs in the NL Central two straight years. You don't really need to know anything else, do you? The Cards are shopping hard for bullpen help and a power bat, and they intend to get back in front of the Cubs next season.

5. There's going to be a run on relievers. Last offseason, the three largest reliever contracts ever -- Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon -- were signed. This year, there's going to be a scramble to add both quality and depth from a terrific free-agent class that includes Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Addison Reed, Mike Minor, Brandon Morrow, Juan Nicasio, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek and Tony Watson.

Video: Hardy on Holland becoming FA, role in bullpen

6. The Phillies have money to spend, and they're a team that could be ready to turn a corner. They've evaluated the market for almost everything, and with a team that could be close to competing, add a dynamic to a free-agent market that was already going to be hot enough.

7. If your favorite team has a need, there's probably a free agent to fill it. There aren't just free agents available at nearly every position. There are impact players at a lot of those positions, including catcher (Jonathan Lucroy), first base (Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana, Logan Morrison), third base (Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier) and outfield (J.D. Martinez, Lorenzo Cain, Jay Bruce).

8. As for starting pitchers, not so much. There probably are just four starters that would be considered elite (other than Ohtani) on the market: Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb. That means there's going to be intense bidding for those four at some point, and then a trickle-down effect to Andrew Cashner, Tyler Chatwood, Chris Tillman and others.

Video: Darvish tops free-agent pitching market

9. The Braves want to change the narrative under their new general manager, Alex Anthopoulos. He'd like to add relievers and a starting pitcher to shore up all that young talent his predecessors acquired. Atlanta has the Minor League depth to make a big trade.

10. If the Astros, Cubs and Royals can win the World Series, then your favorite team is under pressure to show it can win one, too. Twenty-one of 30 franchises have played at least one postseason series the past five years. By Opening Day, at least 25 teams will see a reasonable path to the postseason with an addition or two this offseason.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.