Fifteen Winter Meetings’ Storylines to Watch

Source: Butch Dill/Getty Images North America

Source: Butch Dill/Getty Images North America

1. Will Shelby Miller be Traded?

Sitting atop the list of everyone’s biggest question going into the Winter Meetings, now that both Zack Greinke and David Price are off the free agent market, is whether or not the Braves pull the trigger and actually end up trading Shelby Miller. Miller has been at the center of quite a bit of speculation over the last week, and that will likely come to a head at the winter meetings. The Marlins, Dodgers, Giants, and what seems like 15 or 20 other teams have all been speculated as possible fits. The Braves clearly don’t NEED to trade Miller, but could feel inclined to do so given the pitching depth they do have, and the positional depth they are lacking. A trade for a couple of position prospects would certainly get the deal done on the Braves’ end. The Winter Meetings should provide a bit more clarity to the situation.

2. Where will Jason Heyward sign?

Outside of David Price and Zack Greinke, the other $200 million question on the free agent market is where Jason Heyward will sign. The market on Heyward has been slow to take shape, but the young right fielder has been linked to almost every possible contender, from his former team the St. Louis Cardinals to the Los Angeles Angels. There will be no shortage of interested parties, and the market should become a lot more clear as the Winter Meetings progress. At only 26 years of age, the market for Heyward could very well land him a contract at or near $200 million. Three $200 million contracts in one offseason? Absolutely unheard of.

3. What’s the plan for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals?

In the arms race that is the National League Central, expect all three of these teams to be very busy at the Winter Meetings trying to keep up with each other. The Cubs have already jumped the gun, signing John Lackey away from the Cardinals on a two-year deal, and now the Cardinals and Pirates will try to respond. The Cubs could still be in the market for another starter, and also could use an outfield upgrade. As for the Cardinals, pitching is the main concern, although they are still a potential fit to re-sign Heyward. Finally, the Pirates, who have been awfully quiet so far, also have several holes in the pitching staff that they will probably creatively fill. It remains to be seen what moves will be made, but these three teams should all be quite active next week.

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