MLB Winter Meetings 2018: 9 bold predictions for baseball's biggest hot stove week | Yankees surprise? Bryce Harper, Manny Machado to Phillies?

 nj.com  12/8/2018 12:00:00 PM   Joe Giglio | NJ Advance Media for

Here we go!

The hot stove is officially set to start heating up at the annual MLB Winter Meetings. This year's summit will be taking place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. The festivities begin on Sunday, December 9, 2018.

From free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to trade candidates like Corey Kluber and Madison Bumgarner, the landscape of the sport could change dramatically over the next week.

With the Phillies, Yankees, White Sox, Dodgers, Indians and Cubs expected to be among the most active teams, major deals could go down, record contracts seem to be on the horizon and rumors will be flying from sunrise to (past) sunset in Las Vegas.

Here are nine bold predictions for what will go down at the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Harper *and* Machado to Phillies rumors

It's not likely. It's not something you should bet on. But it's going to be talked about. At some point during the course of the meetings, expect a tweet or report like this to scroll across your timeline: "Handful of executives believe the Phillies could pull off the double signing of Bryce Harper *and* Manny Machado."

Yankees finish rotation work

The trade for James Paxton gave the Yankees the top-of-the-rotation stud needed to compete with Boston and Houston in the AL postseason. Next up: Putting the finishing touches on a group that already has Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia. J.A. Happ, after pitching well down the stretch for New York last year, makes too much sense for the Yankees to pass up.

Mets, Yankees battle for N.Y. product

Once Happ is signed, the Yankees will turn their attention to making sure the bullpen is dominant once again. Righty Adam Ottavino (2.43 ERA, 13.0 K/9) stands out in a crowded reliever market. The New York-born strikeout artist will draw big interest from both the Yankees and Mets, possibly creating a hometown bidding war for the breakout star.

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