MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

12 teams with the prospects to make big moves

12 teams with the prospects to make big moves

If recent history is any indication, some prominent prospects will change addresses at the Winter Meetings, which open Sunday outside of Washington D.C. Last year in Nashville, the reigning No. 1 overall Draft pick (Dansby Swanson) went from the D-backs to the Braves, and the groundwork was laid for another (Mark Appel) to go from the Astros to the Phillies two days after the Meetings ended. Two years ago in San Diego, one of baseball's best young left-handers (Andrew Heaney) switched teams twice in a matter of hours.

Who'll be on the move during the five days at National Harbor? While we'll have to wait to find out, we present you with a dozen teams who have designs on contending in 2017 and could use some of their prospects as ammunition to help their cause:

Astros
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
5
Top prospect: Francis Martes, RHP (29)

Trading for Brian McCann and signing Josh Reddick (and perhaps Edwin Encarnacion as well) leaves no doubt that Houston is all in for 2017. He's technically not a prospect any longer and looks like a future star, but if a talent like Alex Bregman ever were expendable, it would be on a team that had Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yulieski Gurriel to play second base, shortstop and third. The Astros also have a lot of good outfield prospects (Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, Teoscar Hernandez, Daz Cameron) and plenty of young right-handers (recently graduated Joe Musgrove and true prospects Martes, Forrest Whitley and David Paulino).

Top Prospects: Martes, HOU

Blue Jays
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 3
Top prospect: Richard Urena, SS (74)

Toronto sacrificed most of its best pitching prospects to bolster its club in 2015, only to fall one step short of the World Series the last two seasons. The Jays have some holes to fill at first base and in the outfield, so maybe they'd be willing to give up some of their top position talent (outfielder Anthony Alford, shortstop Urena, first baseman Rowdy Tellez) for more immediate help. Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should probably be kept off limits, however.

Cubs
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 4
Top prospect: Ian Happ, 2B (21)

Outfielder Eloy Jimenez, second baseman Happ and third baseman Jeimer Candelario all could make an impact in the next year or two, but they're also blocked by all the young hitting talent in Chicago. They'd be attractive to other clubs -- or maybe they could make it easier to trade Javier Baez or Kyle Schwarber in a blockbuster.

Dodgers
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 6
Top prospect: Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF (31)

First baseman/outfielder Bellinger, Los Angeles' top prospect, and right-hander Jose De Leon (No. 2) don't have clear paths to playing time next year, so maybe the Dodgers would be a little more willing to part with blue-chip prospects than they normally would be. The system has so many farmhands with high ceilings -- outfielder Alex Verdugo, right-hander Yadiel Alvarez, second baseman Willie Calhoun to name just three more -- that the team could assemble a package to acquire just about anyone it might want in trade.

Next Big Leaguers: C. Bellinger

Giants
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 2
Top prospect: Christian Arroyo, INF (79)

San Francisco never seems to fare well in farm-system rankings yet keeps churning out big leaguers. Infielder Arroyo, right-hander Tyler Beede and outfielder Bryan Reynolds all could be attractive to rebuilding clubs, while lefty Ty Blach and righty Chris Stratton have lower ceilings but are ready to help immediately.

Indians
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 5
Top prospect: Bradley Zimmer, OF (25)

Cleveland nearly won the World Series, in part because it wasn't shy about trading elite prospects to get Andrew Miller. If the Indians want to wheel and deal some more, they have two attractive and blocked shortstops in Erick Gonzalez and Yu-Cheng Chang, a pair of nearly ready center fielders in Zimmer and Greg Allen, and two of the game's top prospects at their positions in catcher Francisco Mejia and first baseman Bobby Bradley.

Mariners
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 2
Top prospect: Kyle Lewis, OF (28)

While Seattle doesn't have a stellar farm system, general manager Jerry Dipoto has shown a willingness to swap anyone if it helps his club. It's hard to envision the Mariners dealing outfielders Lewis (Seattle's No. 1 prospect) or Tyler O'Neill (No. 2), but they do have a pair of mildly attractive Triple-A first basemen in Dan Vogelbach and D.J. Peterson.

Nationals
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 4
Top prospect: Lucas Giolito, RHP (3)

Washington appears to have a lot of irons in the Hot Stove League fire. Rookie star Trea Turner may be untouchable, but can the same be said of the Nationals' top prospects: outfielder Victor Robles (No. 2 in the system) and right-handers Giolito (No. 1), Reynaldo Lopez (No. 3) and Erick Fedde (No. 4)?

Giolito's MLB debut

Pirates
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 5
Top prospect: Tyler Glasnow, RHP (8)

As of now, Pittsburgh looks more likely to trade one-time franchise cornerstone Andrew McCutchen for prospects than it does to turn youngsters into veterans. However, there's presently no room in the lineup for outfielder Austin Meadows, and the Pirates also have a surplus of left-side infield prospects (Kevin Newman, Ke'Bryan Hayes, Will Craig, Cole Tucker).

Rangers
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 1
Top prospect: Yohander Mendez, LHP (55)

In the last two years, Texas has traded many of its best prospects to acquire Carlos Beltran, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Lucroy and others. If the Rangers are willing to part with young big leaguers Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo and Minor Leaguers such as outfielder Leody Taveras and left-hander Mendez, more major moves could be afoot.

Red Sox
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 5
Top prospect: Yoan Moncada, 2B/3B (1)

Dave Dombrowski hasn't been shy about trading many of his best prospects since taking over as Boston's president of baseball operations 16 months ago. Don't expect him to make another deal with the Padres, but it wouldn't be a shock if he included any of the Red Sox' top phenoms (infielder Moncada, outfielder Andrew Benintendi, third baseman Rafael Devers, right-hander Michael Kopech, left-hander Jason Groome) to land a star.

Next Big Leaguers: Yoan Moncada

Yankees
Number of Top 100 Prospects:
 6
Top prospect: Clint Frazier, OF (15)

New York built baseball's best and deepest farm system in part by trading Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Miller for prospects this summer. If the Yankees want to reverse course, they're well stocked with outfielders (Frazier, Blake Rutherford, Aaron Judge, Dustin Fowler) and shortstops (Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, Wilkerman Garcia, Tyler Wade), among other positions.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. ET.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.