Winter meetings roundtable: Busy week in Washington?

Kenley Jansen and Edwin Encarnacion could be on the move next week. Getty Images

Which team will be most active?

Jerry Crasnick: The White Sox. There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Chris Sale, and White Sox GM Rick Hahn will take advantage of having all 30 teams under one roof as a chance to hold an open auction for Sale and other veteran pieces at the meetings. Along with Sale, Hahn can discuss Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera with other clubs. "There are a lot of ways they can go,'' one competing executive said.

Scott Lauber: Most clubs were awaiting a resolution on the collective bargaining agreement before getting on with their offseason business, so there won't be a shortage of activity next week. But with the winter meetings taking place in their own backyard, the Washington Nationals are positioned to make a few big splashes. They will almost certainly sign a marquee closer and could get into a tug-of-war with the neighboring Baltimore Orioles over free-agent catcher Matt Wieters. Don't count the Nats out of the Chris Sale derby, either.

Andrew Marchand: The Houston Astros do not seem done yet. Not only will they sign Edwin Encarnacion, but I think they will add a few more spare pieces to make themselves legit World Series contenders.

Doug Padilla: It remains uncertain if the Chicago White Sox will make a deal at the winter meetings, but even if they don't, the front office of Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams will be mighty busy. Sale is the big trade prize, but other White Sox stars such as Jose Abreu and Jose Quintana could get plenty of attention as well. The White Sox know how to work the winter meetings, proving to be one of the biggest buyers two years ago. Now it looks like their turn to sell big.

Jesse Rogers: The Tampa Bay Rays will be active as they continue an overhaul of their roster. Stuck in a deep division, they'll sell off their starting pitching and perhaps closer Alex Colome, setting their sights on competing in the coming years.

Adam Rubin: With the collective bargaining agreement now in place and clarity on spending penalties, look for the Red Sox to be active. Boston needs a DH to succeed David Ortiz. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski also could be active on the trade front.

Mark Saxon: The Astros will be the most active team because they appear intent on spending money to improve and could benefit most by a move or two. They were better than they appeared last season and they're in a very winnable division.

One big prediction for the week?

Jerry Crasnick: The Cubs acquire Chris Archer in a trade with Tampa Bay. Archer strengthens the Chicago rotation as the Cubs gear up to make a run at another world championship. He also gives the Cubs long-term protection in the event Jake Arrieta leaves through free agency next winter. Jorge Soler, a superfluous piece in Chicago, will give Tampa Bay a young power outfield bat, and the Rays can choose from a menu that includes Ian Happ, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to stockpile a nucleus of young talent.

Scott Lauber: Never mind that the Astros already have signed outfielder Josh Reddick and traded for catcher Brian McCann. They're angling for at least one more headline-grabbing move, and after reportedly making a strong bid for Yoenis Cespedes this week before the free-agent outfielder re-signed with the New York Mets, they're poised to throw big bucks at Encarnacion.

Andrew Marchand: Sale is traded to ... the Dodgers. The Dodgers have the prospects to get this deal done. Teaming Clayton Kershaw and Sale for the playoffs could bring Los Angeles its first World Series since 1988. For the White Sox, this is a great time to rebuild and maximize trading Sale's reasonable contract.

Doug Padilla: If there is one thing that gets the blood pumping at baseball's annual winter meetings, it is a blockbuster trade. So we'll predict a grand three-team deal of some variety, perhaps with Sale moving away from the White Sox, or Zack Greinke being dealt out of Arizona. We'll even go as far as to say that not only will starting pitching be included in a three-team blockbuster, but so will late-inning relief help as teams run from the sticker shock that available free-agent closers Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon are revealing.

Jesse Rogers: Encarnacion will sign with the Yankees, who return to the free-agent market where they made headlines for so many years. Encarnacion will serve as a veteran bat and presence on a team featuring young talent for the first time in years.

Adam Rubin: With Cespedes having re-signed for four years at $110 million, the Mets have a glut of outfielders. And that means either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson likely will be traded -- with a decent possibility it happens during the winter meetings. Both are in the final year of their contracts in 2017. Bruce is owed $13 million, and Granderson is owed $15 million. Currently, the Mets have Cespedes, Bruce, Granderson, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo under control for next season.

Mark Saxon: The Cardinals will make one major free-agent signing and one major trade within the next 10 days based on a conversation that starts at the winter meetings. The team will have a whole different feel by the holidays.

Of the big closers (Jansen, Chapman, Melancon), which will sign first (and where)?

Jerry Crasnick: Melancon signs first, with San Francisco. Some executives think the Dodgers are poised to make news and bring back Jansen on a multiyear deal, but Melancon to the Giants continues to make a lot of sense. San Francisco made a serious bid to acquire Melancon from Pittsburgh at the non-waiver deadline, but a deal failed to materialize. Upgrading the back end of the bullpen remains the top priority for Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans.

Scott Lauber: All along, it has been presumed that Chapman will become the highest-paid closer ever. Why, then, shouldn't he set the market? The Yankees, Nationals, Chicago Cubs and Giants are among Chapman's suitors. The Nats will get him, leaving plenty of options for Jansen and Melancon.

Andrew Marchand: I have Chapman signing first with ... the Dodgers. Los Angeles wanted Chapman last season, but the domestic violence allegations scuttled the Dodgers' deal with the Reds at last year's winter meetings. This year, they get Chapman, who would replace Jansen.

Doug Padilla: The prediction here is that Melancon is the first to sign from this group, as Jansen and Chapman duel to the end to see who will take the record-breaking deal for a closer. Desperate for late-inning bullpen help, we will predict that the Giants take the leap first and land Melancon, who had a combined 47 saves last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Nationals, not to mention a sparkling 1.64 ERA. Nobody finished more games than the 67 Melancon wrapped up last season.

Jesse Rogers: Jansen will set the closer market, staying out west as either the Dodgers or Giants won't let him leave the state. But which team will secure his services? The Dodgers might have the edge being the incumbent, but the Giants are more desperate. Look for San Francisco to outbid any suitors, signing Jansen to a huge deal and giving Chapman an idea of what he can get from the Yankees.

Adam Rubin: After helping lead the Cubs to the World Series, Chapman returns to the Yankees -- who, like the Red Sox, now have clarity on the CBA and can proceed with their plans. The big question: Will Chapman actually command $100 million?

Mark Saxon: Melancon will sign first, perhaps with the Colorado Rockies, which will clear the way for Jansen and Chapman -- perhaps the two best short relievers in baseball -- to sign with other teams.