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Shopping & swapping: Top Meetings targets

5 free agents, 5 trade candidates to keep on the radar this week @jonmorosi

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Cubs won the World Series a little more than one month ago, yet it seems as though the offseason hasn't begun.

Of the eight free agents to reject qualifying offers, only Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to a new contract -- and he returned to the Mets.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Cubs won the World Series a little more than one month ago, yet it seems as though the offseason hasn't begun.

Of the eight free agents to reject qualifying offers, only Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to a new contract -- and he returned to the Mets.

Hot Stove Tracker

Andrew McCutchen is a Pirate. Ryan Braun is a Brewer. Myriad White Sox and Tigers trade candidates remain in the same roster spots they were in when Anthony Rizzo squeezed the final out in Cleveland.

But in many cases, that is about to change.

Baseball has a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the Hot Stove is ready to ignite as the industry gathers for the Winter Meetings.

Video: Three teams that could be active at Winter Meetings and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.

Here are the big-name players to watch this week.

Free agents

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH: He's hit 193 home runs over the past five seasons, second only to Chris Davis in the Major Leagues. And yet Encarnacion's marketplace is becoming harder to decipher, after suitors like the Yankees (Matt Holliday), Blue Jays (Kendrys Morales) and Astros (Carlos Beltran) seemingly satisfied their slugging needs elsewhere.

Most likely destination: The Blue Jays, if only because it is getting harder to envision another American League team signing Encarnacion to a four-year deal (or longer) and surrendering a Draft pick. Encarnacion turned down a four-year, $80 million offer from Toronto earlier this offseason; signing that deal now would feel like a victory, given his loss of leverage. The Red Sox still loom, if the terms are favorable.

Video: MLB Tonight: Latest on Melancon, Encarnacion

Mark Trumbo, 1B/RF: His one-year trip to the Camden Slugging Spa resulted in a Major League-leading 47 home runs, and Trumbo described the season in Baltimore as the most enjoyable of his pro career.

Most likely destination: The Rockies. Colorado GM Jeff Bridich wants to win now, and he is increasingly confident that his long-maligned rotation is sturdy enough to do it. But the Rockies must score big to win, and Trumbo -- along with Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez -- would help them do that. One concern: Colorado has the No. 11 pick in the upcoming Draft, so its first-round selection is not protected. Trumbo is also a good fit for the Yankees for the same reasons Encarnacion is. The Yanks need right-handed power, and Trumbo has proven that he understands how to leverage the dimensions of a hitter-friendly AL East ballpark.

Video: Duquette discusses potential landing spots for Trumbo

Ian Desmond, OF/SS: He's better positioned than at this time last year, when a disappointing 2015 season with the Nationals led to a one-year, $8 million deal in Texas. Desmond had a 20/20 season and was an All-Star with the Rangers in '16, while adding to his defensive profile by playing the outfield.

Most likely destination: The Rangers. Their talks to retain Desmond have intensified in recent days, a source said Saturday. He would bring reliability to a shaky outfield depth chart. And Texas would rather sign an outfielder than trade for one, since its long-robust farm system has thinned considerably after recent trades.

Kenley Jansen, closer: Signing Jansen involves surrendering a Draft pick. That's not the case with fellow free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman or Mark Melancon, who were ineligible for qualifying offers due to in-season trades. Along with the Dodgers -- the only professional organization Jansen has known -- he's received interest from the Giants, Yankees and Marlins, according to reports.

Most likely destination: The Dodgers. They need a closer, they are comfortable with Jansen and they are the one team that wouldn't have to surrender a pick to sign him.

Video: Duquette on what Dodgers could do at Winter Meetings

Dexter Fowler, OF: Fans saw him last in Game 7 of the World Series, leading off with a home run and shedding tears of joy on the field afterward. Fowler improved his stock considerably in 2016, when he was the top-of-the-order catalyst and emotional hub for the World Series champs.

Most likely destination: The Cardinals or Blue Jays. Both teams need improved production at the top of the lineup, and both teams want to upgrade their speed and outfield defense. Worth mentioning: the Cubs open the 2017 season in St. Louis. Fowler could give fans (and reporters) even more to talk about.

Trade candidates

Chris Sale, LHP: Whether the White Sox ace changes teams this week will go a long way toward revealing if the team's breathlessly anticipated retooling is about to happen. If Sale is dealt, then we could see Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier and perhaps even Jose Abreu move, as well.

Video: Merkin on White Sox goals for Winter Meetings

Most likely destination: The Astros. They have a deep farm system and clear need to upgrade the starting rotation, which isn't yet World Series-caliber. After adding Beltran, Brian McCann and Josh Reddick to the lineup, general manager Jeff Luhnow must complete the job by adding an ace-caliber starter.

McCutchen, OF: The Pirates have done little -- publicly or privately -- to tamp down speculation that they're about to trade the 2013 National League MVP Award winner. Team officials believe moving McCutchen is a reality of their market, especially with Starling Marte (a brilliant defender) poised to take over in center field. The fact that McCutchen posted an .852 OPS after Aug. 1 should ease suitors' concerns over a sluggish first half.

Most likely destination: The Nationals. They've been talking. They're still talking. Let's see if Nats GM Mike Rizzo is willing to put outfield prospect Victor Robles in the offer.

Braun, OF: He nearly became a Dodger at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and a return to his hometown of Los Angeles remains possible. Braun has a broad no-trade clause that permits the Brewers to trade him to only six teams without his permission: the Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Diamondbacks, Padres and Marlins, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Most likely destination: The Dodgers. The caveat is the Dodgers seem to be waiting on free-agent third baseman Justin Turner's decision before addressing the outfield. It is clear, however, that Braun will be selective about approving a trade anywhere outside of the six teams listed above. He would love to play in California, and he's willing to be patient in order to make that happen.

J.D. Martinez, OF: Martinez has been the most talked about player among the Tigers' big names, because he's affordable ($11.75 million) on a one-year commitment. His .908 OPS was the third best among all qualifying outfielders in the Major Leagues in 2016.

Most likely destination: The Giants. The Tigers and Giants have been in contact since early in the offseason, and San Francisco wants to add another middle-of-the-order bat. The Yankees are one possibility if they don't add Encarnacion or Trumbo.

Wade Davis, closer: A relatively new entry to the trade market, Davis will be popular among clubs this week as a result of the Royals' adjustment to the new CBA. Without the ability to collect first-round picks on departing free agents, Kansas City is more likely to deal Davis now than watch him depart after the 2017 season.

Most likely destination: The Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, Nationals and Cubs all are involved in the marketplace. The closer-needy clubs that don't land Jansen, Chapman and Melancon will form a queue at the suite of Royals GM Dayton Moore. The Red Sox have Craig Kimbrel, but they are an intriguing team to watch with Davis, since two-closer bullpens are so popular (and effective) these days.

Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for