The holidays are over. The New Year has arrived. Pitchers and catchers report to their Spring Training camps in just over a month.As we move into the second week ahead of 2018, maybe there's more time for the 30 clubs of Major League Baseball to get things going on the
The holidays are over. The New Year has arrived. Pitchers and catchers report to their Spring Training camps in just over a month.
As we move into the second week ahead of 2018, maybe there's more time for the 30 clubs of Major League Baseball to get things going on the Hot Stove, which hasn't yet reached its typically frothy midwinter boil.
• Hot Stove Tracker
Take the best available starting pitching and hitting free agents, for example. Look at the top of the board and Yu Darvish and Jacob Arrieta are still there in the arms department, as are J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer in the bat category.
These players were supposed to help define the non-Shohei Ohtani markets, but they're waiting to be signed and this week we'll hit mid-January.
The Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Twins, Yankees and Rangers have been mentioned as possible suitors for Darvish, while Arrieta has reportedly been pursued by the Cardinals, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Rangers, Rockies, and, maybe even the Cubs.
This might all seem confusing now, but things can happen quickly and the first pitcher to sign will obviously knock over other dominoes, such as Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas and Chris Tillman.
With Wade Davis off the board and headed to Colorado, the best closer on the market could very well be last year's Rockies ninth-inning man, Greg Holland, and the latest reports indicate that the Cubs and Nationals could be in on the veteran right-hander, with the Astros also a possibility.
The Hosmer situation could be determined shortly, with the big question of whether the Royals will try to keep him. Also, Martinez's whereabouts are on the radar of clubs in both leagues who are wondering how the slugging market might be set by its current marquee free-agent name.
Other free agents who could sign with new clubs at any moment include Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jay Bruce, Logan Morrison, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Eduardo Nunez, Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson and Melky Cabrera.
And then there are the trade possibilities, which seem to be the ones getting the most headlines, especially after the blockbuster that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees.
The Marlins might not be done shipping off young and highly talented outfielders, even following the Stanton deal and the trade that sent Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals. Yes, they have Christian Yelich, too, and the rumors are in full swirl mode when it comes to the 26-year-old with the sweet left-handed swing and a Gold Glove Award to boot.
Reports indicate that teams are placing a lot of phone calls to the Marlins about Yelich, which makes sense considering the All-Star's age and his contract -- an affordable $44.5 million over the next four years plus a $15 million option for the fifth. That means the Marlins are surely asking for big-time prospects in return.
Meanwhile, Orioles star Manny Machado's name continues to be bandied about in mega-trade circles, although it's unclear where Baltimore might decide to send him in the event that a deal became too good to pass up, and it remains to be seen what the Pirates might do if they come to the conclusion that trading ace Gerrit Cole and/or former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen would give them the return that would make those deals worth it.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.