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MLB Rumors: Hottest Trade Rumors Entering Winter Meetings 2016

The 2016 Major League Baseball winter meetings will run from Sunday through Thursday in National Harbor, Maryland, and trade buzz is picking up as general managers get ready to intensify discussions regarding some of the sport's biggest names.

From All-Star starting pitchers to game-changing outfielders, there are plenty of enticing names circulating in advance of hot-stove season.

"It's one of the worst free-agent groups I can remember," a National League executive told's Jayson Stark. "So I think people are saying, 'Let's go make a trade.'"

As the meetings get underway, here's a rundown of the latest rumblings from across the sport. 


White Sox Seeking King's Ransom for Sale

Chris Sale's name has been popular in the rumor mill for some time, and the Chicago White Sox are reportedly seeking a major haul in exchange for the five-time All-Star.

"We're hearing the same grumbling about the White Sox's price tag this winter as we heard last July," Stark reported. "One exec described them as asking for 'the Shelby Miller deal,' plus at least two additional pieces."

As NESN's Mike Cole pointed out, the Arizona Diamondbacks had to part with Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair to snag Miller and Gabe Speier

However, the belief around baseball seems to be that the White Sox could lower their asking price to part ways with the ace, who's under team control for three more years at a reasonable price of $39.5 million.  

"I think the price is going to come down...and I think they're going to move him," a National League executive told Stark. "In fact, I'd be surprised if they don't."

Considering Sale has never recorded an ERA above 3.50 and is coming off a season in which he led the AL in complete games (six) while notching 233 strikeouts and 45 walks, the White Sox should have no trouble finding a solid package of prospects to help stabilize their future.


Nationals Leading the Chase for McCutchen

An NL executive told Stark the Pittsburgh Pirates are "actively trying to move" outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and it appears as though there's a front-runner for his services, according to's Jim Bowden:

MLB Network's Jon Morosi added that the Nationals remain in the lead for McCutchen, but he noted the Texas Rangers have also contacted the Pirates about a potential swap. 

The Nationals were seemingly a bat away from solidifying their status as World Series favorites a season ago, so snagging McCutchen—if he's not too expensive—would be a no-brainer for the reigning NL East champions.

Not only is McCutchen a lifetime .292 hitter with a .381 on-base percentage, but he's also hit more than 20 home runs every season dating back to 2011. Plus, he's captured five All-Star berths during that six-season span.

Furthermore, McCutchen is on a team-friendly deal that would be manageable for the Nationals moving forward. The 30-year-old is due $14 million in 2017 with a club option worth $14.5 for 2018 before his contract expires.

If the Nationals are able to swing a deal for McCutchen, they would be able to shift some pieces around and field one of the league's most dangerous lineups.

According to Stark, the hope is that McCutchen would play center field, while Trea Turner would shift over to shortstop.


Justin Verlander on the Block

At first glance, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander would seem like a tough sell on the trade market.

He's owed $28 million in each of the next three seasons, and he owns a $22 million option for the 2020 season that vests if he finishes among the top five in Cy Young Award voting.

However, those financial considerations haven't stopped competing clubs from doing their homework on a potential deal for the 2016 Cy Young runner-up.

"There's a big difference between them and the White Sox," an AL executive told Bleacher Report's Danny Knobler. "The White Sox would have to get a ton to trade [Chris] Sale, and even then, their owner might not really want to do it. The Tigers are looking for value, but I think they would like to make a trade."

With that said, there could be a hang-up even if the Tigers are able to hammer out the framework of a deal with a rival club.

Verlander's contract contains a no-trade clause, so he would need to approve any deal before it's signed, sealed and delivered.

From that standpoint, it's no wonder an AL executive estimated the chances of Verlander being dealt hover around 20 percent, according to Knobler.


Stats courtesy of Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.

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