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Baseball's winter meeting story lines

Oakland Athletics' Jon Lester works against the Kansas

Oakland Athletics' Jon Lester works against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. Photo Credit: AP / Ben Margot


As much as everyone is anxious to see where Jon Lester winds up, the entire pitching market has been on hold until the terms of his next deal are revealed. The Red Sox, Cubs, Giants and Dodgers have been the reported frontrunners, but there's always a mystery team in the weeds at these meetings. As soon as Lester signs, expect the trade market for arms to quickly heat up. Don't forget free agents Max Scherzer and James Shields.

2ESCAPE FROM L.A.? With plenty of bats on the move so far, including Pablo Sandoval ($95 million) and Hanley Ramirez ($88 million) to the Red Sox, teams still hungry for offense -- such as the Padres -- will be discussing Matt Kemp this week. They'll need to get creative. The Dodgers owe Kemp $107 million through 2019, and that's a big sum to negotiate for a deal like this to happen.



If it's December, Justin Upton must be on the block, and it appears we'll be having another round of trade chatter as the Braves entertain offers for the outfielder in San Diego. Also, Melky Cabrera has yet to sign. And which teams will put their imprint on these meetings? The Astros, who apparently have some cash to spend after missing out on Andrew Miller? The Padres, who desperately need a bat or two? The Orioles will need to be aggressive after losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis to free agency in the past week.


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