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Meetings musings: 7 not-so-crazy predictions

MLB.com @RichardJustice

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You want crazy, don't you? Manny Machado to the Cardinals? Yeah, that would do it. How about Evan Longoria to the Giants? See, you're starting to get into the spirit of the thing.

If we can't throw a little caution to the wind, what's the point of gathering all these baseball people in one place?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You want crazy, don't you? Manny Machado to the Cardinals? Yeah, that would do it. How about Evan Longoria to the Giants? See, you're starting to get into the spirit of the thing.

If we can't throw a little caution to the wind, what's the point of gathering all these baseball people in one place?

Hot Stove Tracker

Baseball writers have a long history -- a long history -- of nudging trade talks along. Sometimes they do this with helpful suggestions. Sometimes they pass along tidbits from the lobby that may or may not be true. That's the point of this column: to offer food for thought, to get a little crazy.

Here now on the eve of the Winter Meetings, we give you seven not-so-crazy predictions:

1. The Giants rebuild in a day

OK, make it two days. The dynamics are in place. That is, the will to upgrade and the availability of players. First, Lorenzo Cain is a perfect fit in center field. Or maybe J.D. Martinez in left.

Crazy would be signing both. Slightly less crazy would be grabbing Todd Frazier to play third. The Giants might not be completely fixed, but they would have taken a huge step in the right direction.

There's one another possibility. What if the Rays decide to deal Longoria? Do the Giants have the Minor League players to make that deal happen? Let's talk.

2. A Big Bird swap?

Let's begin by noting that there's absolutely no indication the O's are thinking of trading Machado, their best player. Instead, they seem committed to adding a couple of starting pitchers and keeping the band together for one more dance.

On the other hand, Machado is a year from free agency and teams have begun asking the O's about him. What if Baltimore gets an offer so good that it has to be discussed? The Cardinals seem intent on making a big trade to bolster their offense and have the Minor League depth to do such a deal with the Orioles. If the O's don't bite on this concept, the Cardinals are likely to make an aggressive play for Marlins All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

Video: Cubs' focus remains on adding pitching

3. The Cubs pay for a Price

David Price's first two years in Boston have been a bit uneven, as he's posted a good but not great 3.84 ERA and sparred with the media. On the other hand, he has a long, productive relationship with Cubs manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey. The Red Sox need a power hitter. The Cubs happen to have one in Kyle Schwarber who doesn't really have a position. The Cubs also happen to be shopping for a top-of-the rotation starter. Bingo. And this would have the added drama of Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein swinging a blockbuster with his old team.

4. Yanks get Cole in their stocking

You think the Yankees are going to stop now? Of course, this one would have to be different than the Giancarlo Stanton trade, as Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole is an elite arm with two years of arbitration remaining. The Bucs aren't doing this without getting elite prospects -- ideally close to the Majors -- in return. Lucky for the Yankees, they have plenty. The Yanks originally selected Cole in the first round of the 2008 Draft out of high school, but he chose to go to UCLA instead. Yankees GM Brian Cashman and scouting director Damon Oppenheimer were in their same roles then, so they would finally be getting their man, so to speak.

Video: After Stanton deal, Yanks could look at pitching

5. Milwaukee brews trade for an ace

The Brewers need a big arm. The Rays may be ready to trade Chris Archer in the right deal. Milwaukee's farm system is not baseball's deepest, but it may be deep enough to get this deal done. Last season convinced the Brewers they're not that far away from a return to the postseason.

6. Ian Kinsler to the Angels

After landing Shohei Ohtani in the coup of the offseason, the Angels need just one more piece, and Kinsler could be that. His former manager, Brad Ausmus, who happens to be one of his biggest fans, just joined the Angels' front office.

7. A Motown-Lonestar swap

After missing out on Ohtani, the Rangers need a high-end starting pitcher. Enter Michael Fulmer. Dealing the 24-year-old right-hander is not at the top of Detroit GM Alex Avila's to-do list. On the other hand, the Tigers are beginning a rebuild and the Rangers might just have the pieces to speed up that process. Fulmer is recovering from ulnar nerve surgery that ended his season a few weeks early, but he should be fine for Spring Training. He's also under team control through 2022, so he could command some serious prospects.

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