8 stars most likely to move at Winter Meetings
Gordon, Chapman, Miller could have new homes by next week
At baseball's Winter Meetings, teams tend to take divergent paths depending on their resources. Some can afford to augment their rosters via free agency, while others have to work the trade market to address their needs.
That means a sizable number of players could find new homes, and not just those who are currently free to sign anywhere. With that in mind, here are eight big names -- three free agents and five trade targets -- who are likely to be on the move during the coming week.
Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF: With the ability to field multiple positions at a high level and provide steady production at the plate, Zobrist should have many suitors. Though he is now 34 years old, the switch-hitter is coming off a year in which he posted a 120 OPS+ in the regular season before batting .303/.365/.515 during the Royals' run to a World Series title.
Most likely destination: The Mets could very well land Zobrist, who would make sense as a second-base replacement and could also fill in elsewhere. The reigning National League champions -- like many teams -- have reportedly shown a great deal of interest in the versatile veteran.
Darren O'Day, RHP: This righty has been one of the Majors' steadiest bullpen arms, lowering his ERA in each of the past four seasons, and he finishied with a personal-best 1.52 mark in 2015. As a result, many clubs -- from contenders to teams in transition -- could view him as a worthwhile target.
Most likely destination: If O'Day does not remain with the Orioles, he could sign with Baltimore's Beltway brethren, the Nationals.
Alex Gordon, LF: He has proven to be a dependable player on both sides of the ball, making three American League All-Star teams, winning four Gold Glove Awards and recording a 121 OPS+ since becoming a full-time left fielder in 2011. At 31 years old, he should have the skills to be a strong asset for at least a few more years.
Most likely destination: With several large contracts already on the books, the Tigers are unlikely to chase higher-priced free agents such as Jason Heyward or Justin Upton to fill their left-field void. But Gordon could be in Detroit's price range, and he would give its lineup some much-needed help from the left side of the plate. San Francisco is another likely landing spot.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP: The Reds are seemingly determined to move their flamethrowing closer, who will be a free agent following the 2016 season. Getting back value befitting Chapman's tremendous talent level could be difficult, however, given he is under control for just one more year and might be of interest only to contending teams.
Most likely destination: Looking to upgrade their bullpen and in possession of the young pieces to interest a rebuilding Cincinnati club, the Astros are the most likely suitors for Chapman.
Marcell Ozuna, OF: The Marlins are reportedly shopping the corner outfielder, who had just 10 homers with 44 RBIs and a .691 OPS in 2015. The 25-year-old has clear upside, however, as he belted 23 long balls and plated 85 runs one year prior.
Most likely destination: Ozuna might land with the Indians, who are in need of right-handed hitters with power. To get the deal done, the Tribe could dangle Trevor Bauer, who has a career 4.50 ERA but still possesses a high ceiling.
Drew Storen, RHP: After being unceremoniously replaced as the Nationals' closer last July despite previously excelling in the role, Storen struggled as a setup man down the stretch before breaking his right thumb in September. With the right-hander due to receive a raise in arbitration, a trade might be in the best interests of both parties at this point.
Most likely destination: If the Reds' asking price for Chapman becomes too steep for the Astros, Storen could be a viable alternative in Houston.
Shelby Miller, RHP: The righty is fresh off posting a 3.02 ERA over 205 1/3 innings, and his is still under team control for three more years. However, the rebuilding Braves may look to deal him for multiple assets.
Most likely destination: Aiming to take the next step after reaching the NL Championship Series in 2015, the Cubs could benefit greatly from the addition of Miller. More Importantly, they have the young prospects necessary to wrestle the right-hander away from Atlanta.
Neil Walker, 2B: One of the most dependable second basemen in the Senior Circuit for years, Walker may cost too much for Pittsburgh to re-sign when he becomes a free agent following the 2016 season. Thus, the club may look to deal him a year early.
Most likely destination: In need of an offensive upgrade at the keystone position, the Angels profile as a trade partner for the Pirates. Pittsburgh could ask for a starting pitcher in return to lengthen its rotation depth following A.J. Burnett's retirement.