With the 2016 Major League Baseball campaign in the history books, all 30 teams are looking ahead to next season in an effort to secure a World Series championship. 

The hot-stove season brings with it a host of rumors, particularly on the trade front since free agency officially begins Tuesday. 

While a lot of what gets tossed around this time of year amounts to nothing, there are times when a blockbuster deal goes down. Miguel Cabrera was dealt to the Detroit Tigers as part of a huge deal that sent six players to the then-Florida Marlins in 2007. 

Looking at what the trade winds have blowing, it’s shaping up to be a busy winter for MLB general managers.


Royals Open to Dealing Wade Davis

The Kansas City Royals are making plans to have Wade Davis in 2017, with Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reporting the team will exercise their $10 million option on the All-Star closer. 

That would buy the Royals some short-term security—that is if they don’t trade him before the season starts. 

Per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Royals would be open to trading Davis if they could get controllable starting pitching in return. 

It’s not a surprise the Royals would be after starting pitching. Heyman previously reported the team would not exercise its $10 million option on Edinson Volquez, and the starting group as a whole finished 23rd in MLB with a 4.67 ERA last season. 

The problem Kansas City could run into is Davis didn’t have the kind of year in 2016 that will get teams jumping to cough up at least one young MLB-ready starting pitcher. His 1.87 ERA was good, but his 9.76 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.32 walks per nine innings were his worst marks since the Royals made him a reliever in 2014, per FanGraphs.

On top of that, Davis had two stints on the disabled list last season with a forearm strain in his pitching arm.

The shelf life for a reliever tends to be shorter than a typical MLB player because their arm gets used more frequently, even if they only appear in tiny bursts at a time. 

Davis started to show signs of breaking down last season, presumably lowering his value for teams around the league. The Royals are not going to sell him low, especially if they have designs on contending for a playoff spot next season. 

It’s smart to float a player’s name to see whether it will produce a significant bite, but the Royals are also picking a bad time to do it with elite closers such as Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon all free agents this offseason. 


Derek Holland’s Opus

Derek Holland, another player with an option for next season, knows what his fate will be. He just doesn’t know where it will take him. 

Per MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, the Texas Rangers are not expected to exercise Holland’s $11 million option for 2017. 

Heyman reported the Rangers would be willing to deal the left-hander and have already engaged in discussions with multiple teams, but he didn’t specify which teams. It is curious why anyone would want to trade for him. His performance over the previous three seasons has been middling at best. 

Holland has only appeared in 38 games since the start of 2014 and has a 4.30 ERA with 209 hits allowed, 133 strikeouts and 57 walks in 203 innings pitched, per Baseball Reference.

Complicating Holland’s problems is a decline in fastball velocity to an average of 91.7 mph last season, the lowest mark of his career, per FanGraphs.

Considering those factors, not to mention knowing the Rangers don’t want to keep his salary on the books, why would teams want to give up any kind of asset for Holland?

It’s not impossible for the Rangers to find a trade partner for Holland because then he doesn’t have the right to pick his destination, which he would be allowed to do as a free agent. But a high salary keeps his value low. 


The Option Gang

The first order of business for every team after the World Series ended was to figure out the players with options who will be brought back in 2017. 

A lot of those players who get their options picked up figure to be wearing the same uniforms they did in 2016, though Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports listed a few who could be dealt away:

Among that trio, Pat Neshek figures to be the most sought-after commodity. His salary is high for a matchup right-hander, though teams tend to pay for relief help, even when it has limitations. 

Neshek allowed a .646 slugging percentage to left-handed hitters in 2016, per Baseball Reference.

Fernando Rodney was a disaster after being traded to the Miami Marlins in July, posting a 5.89 ERA in 36.2 innings. He will be 40 years old when the 2017 season starts and may have to fight just to make Miami’s roster out of spring training.

Carlos Ruiz is an underrated asset, even at 37 years old. The former All-Star hit .264 with a .365 on-base percentage in 62 games and threw out 42 percent of base stealers last season. 

Unless the Los Angeles Dodgers have a strong backup plan for catcher Yasmani Grandal, dealing Ruiz doesn’t make sense. Even with a limited power output, finding a strong defensive catcher who can get on base is a dream for every MLB club.

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