Winter meetings forecast

But for every Samardzija voter, there's a skeptic on the other side who wonders if the late-blooming Price and Tanaka markets make the Cubs more likely to hang on to Samardzija until later in the winter -- or even until July.

Likewise, the Trumbo votes came from execs who had just heard his name elsewhere, while an official of a club that had interest in him reported: "I don't think they'll move him at all. They seemed more willing to move him a month ago than they are now."

So if we're strictly confining this discussion to who gets traded next week, Gregorius, Moreland and Lind feel like better bets than the big names. But one thing we've learned from the insanity of previous winter meetings is: Once teams get caught up in the madness, anything is possible.

Most likely to sign

We asked our panel which free agent (not necessarily a huge name) was the best bet to sign during the winter meetings. Once again, two of the prime suspects -- Saltalamacchia and Ellsbury -- mucked up the voting by taking themselves off the market while balloting was still in progress. But here's how the votes lined up for the rest of the field before Friday:

Carlos Beltran 8 votes
Shin-Soo Choo 3
Ubaldo Jimenez 2
Mike Napoli, Bronson Arroyo, Corey Hart and Cano 1 apiece.

Beltran easily could have been unanimous. His agent, Dan Lozano, has done a bunch of big deals at the meetings. And before Beltran reportedly agreed to a deal on Friday night with the Yankees, it clearly already felt as if Lozano had put the pieces in place for that to happen again with Beltran. Before that happened, the execs who voted had said they wouldn't have been shocked if Beltran landed in Texas or Detroit. So now we'll see if Choo takes the hint and also agrees to terms before he boards a plane for Orlando.

This year's Human Trade Rumor?

We could have told you who would win this vote before we ever took it. But here goes. (Poll-taker's note: One voter cast a vote for both Price and Samardzija.)

 
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