Don't touch that smile: Hot Stove just starting

Top 10 situations to monitor as we head toward Spring Training

December 14th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If you love the Hot Stove -- and let's be honest, who doesn't? -- the Winter Meetings delivered the best kind of news. There's more left. Lots more.
We did have a flurry of relievers sign this week, but the top 10 free agents remain unsigned. So while the Giants, Red Sox and Brewers -- among others -- have unfinished business, there's a long list of possibilities on the trade and free-agent fronts.
Let's take a look:
1. OF J.D. Martinez
Martinez's agent, Scott Boras, said the Giancarlo Stanton/Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes seem to have set free agency back about a month. This is still a great offseason to be a 30-year-old outfielder with a .690 slugging percentage in 2017. The Giants, D-backs and Red Sox are among the teams hoping to land him.
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2. 1B
Hosmer's left-handed swing and opposite-field power would be an ideal fit at Fenway Park, and Boras has attempted to convince the Red Sox to go for both Martinez and the longtime Royals star. Don't count the Padres out of this one.
3. 3B/SS Manny Machado
The Orioles have offers in hand for the 25-year-old three-time All-Star, who is a year from free agency. His apparent desire to move permanently back to shortstop could be a factor to some clubs, but the larger issue is how many prospects should a club surrender for what may be a one-year rental. Some of us have already fitted him for a Yankees uniform in 2019, and that remains a possibility. The White Sox are pushing hard to acquire Machado, who they then could flip to the Yankees. Executives, once skeptical of the Orioles actually dealing Machado, are becoming convinced a deal will happen.

4. RHP Chris Archer
This is the key guy if the Rays go full speed ahead with a rebuild. They seem almost certain to deal closer Alex Colome and they could move third baseman -- but only if Archer is traded. He's 29 years old, signed for two more seasons and has averaged 33 starts, 202 innings and has a 3.66 ERA the past four seasons. He would make every team better.
5. RHPs , and Alex Cobb
How about we pencil one of these guys in for the Brewers, and the other two for the Twins and Yankees? Or maybe the Phillies. That the three best available starting pitchers are still available says that the market is still taking shape for the best free agents. Arrieta's modest 1,161 career innings for his age (31) has been Boras' selling point for a David Price-type deal (seven years, $217 million).
6. CF
Cain is another complete player, one who impacts games all over the field. The Giants are a great fit, but they're also in on Martinez and an assortment of third basemen. He could end up being a January signee that outperforms every other player from this free-agent class.
7. SS Zack Cozart
Cozart is another guy who has slipped under the radar with Ohtani and the Marlins dominating the news cycles. The Padres appear to be his most serious suitor, but Cozart, 32 years old and coming off his best season, will do fine for himself.
8. 3Bs and Mike Moustakas
Frazier is a hot commodity, sought after by as many as six teams, though at 31, he's two years older than Moustakas. Also, the possible availability of Machado and Longoria has clubs checking all options.

9. RHP
The reliever market has worked backwards this season, with most of the top guys now gone. However, the No. 1 guy is still out there. The Cardinals would love to steal Davis away from the Cubs. The Cubs could bring him back. Other clubs are interested as well.
10. 1B
Santana's market seems tied to Hosmer's, with teams jockeying negotiations with the two to see which is the better financial fit. Santana, 31, is three years older than Hosmer. He has 68 doubles, 57 home runs and an .842 OPS the last two seasons.