With less than two months until teams report to spring training, it’s crunch time for MLB general managers looking to put the finishing touches on their offseason masterpieces.

Several teams are probably already done making major moves. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have been extraordinarily busy, and their roster overhauls will be on display as soon as camp gets underway.

Other teams have been strangely quiet thus far, so it’ll be interesting to see if they make moves now that other teams are out of the running for the remaining available players.

Three of the top players left on the free-agent and trade markets have made headlines recently. Get up to speed on their statuses below.


Asdrubal Cabrera

Widely considered the top bat available in free agency as things stand today, Asdrubal Cabrera has no shortage of suitors. Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi lists four potential destinations for the middle infielder, though there are presumably others in the hunt as well:

Of the teams Morosi lists, the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be the best fit. After dealing Brett Lawrie this offseason, the team lacks quality depth at second base. Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis and Steve Tolleson are among those on the roster who could see time there, but adding Cabrera would effectively make them expendable.

Scott Ferguson of TSN 1050 writes that Cabrera may not be the future of the position, but he’s worth bringing in now: “Ryan Goins may one day learn to hit, and John Berti who’s been playing in the Arizona Fall League may be an option down the road, but right now, the Jays need a veteran like Asdrubal Cabrera.”

Adding Cabrera would also be an insurance policy for Jose Reyes at short should he get injured yet again. Cabrera could simply slide over to his right and allow one of the aforementioned players to see time at second.

This is an easy-to-see upgrade for Toronto. Cabrera hit .241/.307/.387 split between the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals in 2014. That’s now two consecutive subpar seasons from the 29-year-old, but there’s no reason why the Blue Jays can’t offer him a one-year deal and see if he can re-establish himself north of the border.

There wouldn’t be all that much pressure on Cabrera to produce offensively in a lineup packed with the likes of Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, so this is an ideal scenario for all parties involved.


Marlon Byrd

Jimmy Rollins and Antonio Bastardo have already fallen victim to the rebuild that the Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of, and the likes of Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard are on the chopping block as well.

Marlon Byrd, a surprisingly valuable player (for the most part) since 2009, is also a candidate for relocation. Morosi tweeted that he was actually almost shipped off to Cincinnati:

It’s unknown what the Phillies would have received in return, though moving Byrd is a positive by itself. He’s on borrowed time, enjoying arguably the best two seasons of his career (2013 and 2014) in his mid-30s. Moving him now would prevent the Phillies from having to deal with him when his value potentially lowers during the season.

This is a head-scratcher for the Reds. The outfield is thin, with Skip Schumaker currently in line for regular playing time in left field, but Cincy is in somewhat of a rebuild itself.

The Reds have dealt Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, floated around the idea of trading Jay Bruce and both Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto’s names have even popped up in rumors

Adding Byrd would not help the future of the team. The Reds would have to trade a prospect or two to get him, yet those prospects should remain in the team’s system as part of the plan a few years from now.

Also, Byrd is owed $8 million next season. The Reds need to cut payroll, writes Kevin Goheen of Fox Sports Ohio, so adding salary makes zero sense.

Byrd could very well be dealt this offseason, but it shouldn’t be to the Reds.


Max Scherzer

The pitching market is still tied to Max Scherzer, as the right-handed ace has yet to ink a new contract. That’s probably because he’s still asking for $200 million (h/t D.J. Short of Hardball Talk), a number no pitcher other than Clayton Kershaw has ever earned.

One team accustomed to spending large sums of money on pitchers is the New York Yankees. While they have been quiet in their pursuit (or non-pursuit) of Scherzer, Morosi believes that they’ll ultimately end up with the 30-year-old.

So if your question today is whether I believe the Yankees are pursuing Scherzer, the answer is an emphatic yes,” Morosi writes. “The New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium could have been renamed the ‘We Are Not Signing Max Scherzer Bowl,’ and I wouldn’t have been convinced.”

Morosi cites the team’s muffled pursuit of Mark Teixeira when he was a free agent prior to the 2009 season. Most believed the Yankees to be out on Teixeira until he surprised everyone and inked a lengthy, lucrative deal with the organization.

But why is this parallel relevant? Because both players had Scott Boras‘ name attached to them during free agency.

Boras is the best agent in the business when it comes to pinching every dollar out of prospective teams for his clients. The Yankees are one of the best at throwing money around, making Boras‘ eyes turn into dollar signs when his clients are interested in joining the Bombers.

It’s widely known that Boras always gives the Yankees a call. Morosi recalled a quote from John Henry in his report: “A half-dozen years later, it’s worth remembering what Red Sox owner John Henry told The Associated Press after Teixeira signed with his archrival: ‘There was no mention of the Yankees, but we felt all along that they were going to get the last call. That’s what you deal with in working with Scott.'”

A similar situation could very well happen with Scherzer.

The Yankees have yet to address their injury-prone starting rotation outside of young Nate Eovaldi, and you can rest assured that general manager Brian Cashman won’t stand pat. Something will happen.

How major that something will be is still undetermined.


Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @kennydejohn

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