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Five bold moves left to be made

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. - Four days of Baseball's Winter Meetings ended Thursday without any earth-shaking transactions being pulled off by the 30 general managers, quite a contrast to last year, when 26 teams either made a trade or signed a free agent.

Of course, that doesn't mean a lot of things won't happen between now and the time pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training in February.

Here is one observer's predictions on five moves that could be made:

1. A Dodgers-Tigers blockbuster trade.

Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told former major-league pitcher Dave Stewart, agent for center fielder Matt Kemp, that his client isn't going to be traded. Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski says he has no plans to deal 2013 American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.

A bit of advice: Don't believe GMs.

It's not that they are liars but more like poker players, always trying to bluff and rarely tipping their hand.

There is a big trade to be made between the two teams -- the Dodgers sending Kemp and right-hander Josh Beckett to the Tigers for Scherzer.

Kemp had an injury-plagued 2013 and some in the Dodgers organization believe he is more interested in being famous than creating a legacy as a great player. Los Angeles also has four outfielders for three positions with Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig.

Kemp would make up for the big bat that the Tigers lost last month when they traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers. Kemp could also move to left field, which would theoretically be easier on his body.

Scherzer becomes eligible for free agency at the end of next season. Though the Tigers would like to sign him to a contract extension, agent Scott Boras almost always steers his clients to the open market.

Scherzer would give the Dodgers a rotation for the ages, joining left-hander and 2013 National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Beckett would take Scherzer's rotation spot. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski selected Beckett with the second overall pick in the 1999 amateur draft while GM of the Florida Marlins.

2. Left-handed pitcher David Price is traded to the Seattle Mariners.

While Price is only a year removed from winning the AL Cy Young and still two years away from free agency, the low-budget Tampa Bay Rays know they cannot afford the left-hander. They will trade Price while his value is at his highest to a team that has suddenly become a big player.

The Mariners, who haven't been to the postseason since 2001, made a bold statement last week when they agreed to terms with free agent second baseman Robinson Cano on an eight-year, $240 million contract. They would make another splash by landing Price.

The Mariners have the type of prospects and young low-salaried major-leaguers to entice the Rays, a group that includes left-hander James Paxton, right-handers Taijuan Walker and Tom Wilhelmsen, catcher Mike Zunino, catcher/first baseman Jesus Montero, first baseman Justin Smoak and second baseman Nick Franklin.

3. Jeff Samardzija is traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.

A year ago, it was the Blue Jays making bold moves in an attempt to end a postseason drought that stretches back to 1993. Instead, they finished in last place in the AL East.

The Blue Jays are again making a push for pitching, and the right-handed Samardzija would be a good fit at the top of the rotation with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and left-hander Mark Buehrle. The Blue Jays could satisfy the rebuilding Chicago Cubs' need for young pitching by sending them a package that could include the likes of left-hander Sean Nolin and right-handers Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman.

4. Shin-Soo Choo signs with the Texas Rangers.

Boras was at his hyperbolic best this week when he referred to the outfielder as a "revered player." That may be a little strong but Choo is a very good player who gets on base, has some power and possesses a very good arm.

Choo and Fielder would help rejuvenate the Rangers, who suffered the loss of club president and franchise icon Nolan Ryan to retirement over the winter after losing a one-game playoff to the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League wild card last fall.

Boras is said to be looking for an eight-year, $160 million contract for Choo and the Rangers are going to have to pony up eight years and $140 million if they want to land a player who can help them return to the World Series, where they lost in 2010 and 2011.

5. Ervin Santana re-signs with the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals have the longest postseason drought of all as they haven't been in the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series. However, the Royals believe they are capable of overtaking the three-time defending champion Tigers in the AL Central.

Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana would bolster their chances and the Royals might just be able to keep him. Santana's market has slow to develop because any team signing Santana would be forced to give up draft pick compensation after Kansas City tendered him a qualifying offer last month.

Santana is seeking a $100 million contract but isn't likely to get it. Five years and $70 million from the Royals would be enough.
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