Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The MLB hot stove is up and running this month — there have been some significant signings already — but that could come to a halt when the current collective bargaining agreement ends on Dec. 1. If there is a lockout, trades and free-agent negotiations will stop until a new deal between the players and owners is hammered out.

Until then, it’s business as usual — at least that’s what the general managers were saying at their meetings in California recently.

In that vein, we polled 20 team executives and MLB insiders from across both leagues about free-agent landing spots and who’s likely to get moved in trades this offseason. Voters were assured anonymity and were given the option to skip any questions that hit too close to home.

Here’s how they voted — and what they had to say about their picks.

Where will each star free-agent shortstop land?

Though in most cases there were clear majorities for where these stars would play in 2022, most respondents weren’t very sure of their answers. They hedged their bets, mentioning more than one team for several players, though we counted only the top choice for each. The teams looking for a shortstop don’t seem to be up for debate, but there were plenty of conflicting thoughts on who ends up where.

“Everyone assumes AJ Hinch and Correa will be reunited in Detroit, but don’t count out Texas,” one voter said. “They need to build around someone and think they’ll draw well at their new stadium if they have a star or two. Winning won’t happen right away, and Correa is young enough to be part of whatever they build.”

“The Yankees need Seager,” another voter said. “They can’t add another right-handed bat when a lefty-hitting shortstop is staring at them. It makes too much sense. And we know he can handle the spotlight after playing in Los Angeles. I pick him as the guy least fazed by accepting a huge free-agent contract to play in New York.”

“I think a Javy Baez reunion with the Cubs could happen if Baez wants to reenter the market in a year,” another voter said. “But if he’s willing to stay at second base, then the Mets make all the sense in the world.”

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