Many of the big dominoes have already fallen on the 2015 MLB offseason, but with roughly a month and a half to go until pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training, there is still work to be done this winter.

The position-player market has been more or less tapped dry, though there are still some players that could make an impact in the likes of Stephen Drew, Rickie Weeks, Colby Rasmus, Nori Aoki and Jonny Gomes.

On the pitching side of things, two of the Big Three starters are still looking for new homes, as Jon Lester has joined the Chicago Cubs but both Max Scherzer and James Shields are still waiting to cash in.

Aaron Harang, Ryan Vogelsong, Chris Young and Kyle Kendrick make up the best of the lower tier of starters, while relievers Francisco Rodriguez, Casey Janssen and Rafael Soriano are also still sitting in free agency.

Then we have the trade market, which has been as busy this offseason as any in recent memory. Cole Hamels and Ben Zobrist look like the two biggest names that could be on the move at this point, but if we have learned anything this winter, it’s to expect the unexpected.

So with all of that said, let’s take a look at who among that group of remaining players could be the next dominoes to fall this offseason.


CF Colby Rasmus

The position-player market has thinned considerably since the start of the offseason, and now that the Philadelphia Phillies have moved veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, the outfield market is particularly sparse.

The remaining crop of free agents includes Nori Aoki, Jonny Gomes, Ichiro Suzuki and a handful of other low-level veterans, but the most intriguing option has to be Colby Rasmus.

The former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand was once among the most highly touted prospects in the game, and while he has shown flashes over the course of his six-year career, his time in the majors to this point has been largely disappointing.

He finally looked to be turning a corner with an impressive 2013 season, but significant regression this past year has left him with a free-agent market that is a shell of what it could have been.

Still just 28 years old, Rasmus seems like a prime candidate to sign a one-year deal and look to rebuild some value for a run at a multi-year deal next offseason, and a number of teams could have interest if that’s the case.

The Baltimore Orioles have been the most talked-about potential landing spot in recent weeks, and manager Buck Showalter is set to meet with Rasmus sometime this week, according to Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun.

“Rasmus has shown interest in coming to Baltimore, and the club believes he could be signed for a deal in the range of $6 million to $8 million, which would be a relative bargain,” wrote Encina. “It would be much like the Orioles’ one-year deal with (Nelson) Cruz last season.”

That Cruz deal worked out pretty well, and with the Orioles still searching for a replacement in the outfield for Nick Markakis, it would not be surprising to see the two sides get a deal done in the near future.

Once Rasmus signs, Aoki could be the next chip to fall, as those are the only legitimate everyday outfield options remaining on the market.


2B Ben Zobrist

No strangers to selling off veteran pieces, Ben Zobrist could be the next Tampa Bay Rays player on his way out the door, following the team’s signing of infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.

With a $7.5 million salary for the upcoming season, in what will be the final year of his current contract, Zobrist will likely be a steal once again as he is continually one of the most underrated players in the game.

His defensive versatility, coupled with impressive mix of power and speed at the plate, makes him an attractive trade target for essentially every team, and there will be no shortage of suitors if/when the Rays do make him available.

Since moving into an everyday role with the Rays back in 2009, Zobrist ranks among the most valuable players in the game, at least from a WAR perspective.

Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors took a division-by-division look at the potential market for Zobrist, making a case for as many as 17 teams to have at least some level of interest in acquiring the 33-year-old.

In terms of what Zobrist should fetch in a trade, it seems reasonable to expect either a Major League ready player and perhaps a prospect in addition, or a package of three to four prospects headlined by at least one particularly well-regarded name,” wrote Adams.

With Zobrist headed for free agency at the end of the season, and given his overall value, the package the Atlanta Braves received from the St. Louis Cardinals in return for Jason Heyward has been pointed to as a reasonable comparison.

The Rays don’t necessarily need to trade Zobrist. They could plug him into left or right field to open the season and shop him at the trade deadline, or even hold onto him for the entire 2015 season and make him a qualifying offer next offseason.

Given how thin the market for impact bats has become, though, their best move as far as maximizing his value might be to flip him right now. If they do opt to go that route in the days to come, teams could be scrambling to acquire Zobrist, and a deal could come quickly.


SP James Shields

Much of the mid-level market for starting pitching disappeared shortly after Jon Lester decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs, but the other two big guns in Max Scherzer and James Shields are still patiently waiting in free agency.

Scherzer, a Scott Boras client, will likely stretch his decision right up until pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training. Shields, on the other hand, could make a decision in the very near future.

Despite a rough showing in the postseason during the Kansas City Royals run to the World Series, Shields remains a legitimate ace-caliber arm and one of the game’s most durable starters.

The 33-year-old is riding a streak of eight consecutive seasons with 200-plus innings pitched, and he ranks among the league’s best in a number of categories over the past four seasons.

The general consensus is that Shields will wind up signing a five-year deal in the $90-100 million neighborhood, a reasonable asking price given his durability and consistent production.

The two teams that lost out on the Jon Lester sweepstakes, the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, look like the front-runners to sign him at this point.

For the Giants, Shields would be another proven arm to pair with Madison Bumgarner in an rotation that looks to be full of question marks for the upcoming season.

For the Red Sox, he would be the unquestioned ace of a staff that currently includes offseason additions Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson alongside Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly.

It would be a significant addition for either team, as the Giants look to defend their title and the Red Sox look to make a drastic turnaround after a terrible 2014 campaign.

Once Shields makes his decision, the trade market for Cole Hamels could heat up, while remaining free-agent starters like Aaron Harang, Ryan Vogelsong and Chris Young may also see their respective markets fall into place.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on