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A key Cub to St. Louis? Bold December predictions

Jarrett Jack Youth Jersey The Major League Baseball winter meetings are right around the corner, and almost every industry insider will be in Washington, D.C., starting on Sunday, now that we have a new labor pact. With that huge “maybe” no longer hanging over the entire industry, the hot stove is heating up, and deals are well on their way to getting done. Even after this week’s $110 million pact for Yoenis Cespedes, there are plenty of big-name free agents who are still available — and plenty of teams hustling to make major moves. Here are my predictions for where some of those star players end up and who gets something done during December.

Dodgers president Andrew Friedman would like to bring back both infielder Justin Turner and left-hander Rich Hill, but Friedman is not sure he likes the length (in years) and average annual value it¡¯s going to take to get either deal done. However, his team matches up really well with his former club, the Rays as Longoria and Archer would actually be upgrades at both positions for the Dodgers, and both are already signed to reasonable multiyear contracts. The Rays are always looking for young prospects and non-arbitration-eligible players, and the Dodgers have plenty of those with which to make a blockbuster trade of this magnitude happen.
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New rule: Details are still being worked out, but what we’ve learned: (A) Only teams losing a player who signs a $50 million contract will receive compensation; (B) teams that have exceeded the luxury tax threshold and sign another team’s player who received the qualifying offer will surrender second- and fifth-round picks, plus $1 million in international pool money; but (C) if a club hasn’t exceeded the tax threshold and signs another team’s player who received the qualifying offer, it will surrender a third-round pick.

Assessment: Score one for the players, as tying free agents to first-round picks limited the demand for all but the very elite players. For example, Mark Trumbo is still operating under the old rules this offseason.

Piniella and Johnson: They have pretty good cases when compared to many Hall of Fame managers, although Johnson probably didn’t manage long enough and both have just one World Series title. Piniella is hurt by the fact that Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were just elected in 2014 and his record doesn’t match those three. Plus, Bruce Bochy and Terry Francona are active managers with stronger cases down the road.