Expect blockbuster trades this winter

It would be no surprise if one of these three Dodgers outfielders is traded this winter. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Almost every team held their chips back before the trade deadline, leery of the seller's market that had developed, dubious about the value of the short-term rentals.

The teams working from a position of strength mostly held in place: The Cardinals are loaded and they didn’t make a deal, Boston held its best prospects out of the Jake Peavy trade, and Tampa Bay made one conditional trade for Jesse Crain.

But the summer intransigence has become one more element, among many, that is leading some industry forecasters to predict that there will be an extremely active trade market in the winter -- a blizzard of deals.

Consider all the signs of a gathering trade storm.

1. The upcoming free-agent market is expected to be weak and provide relatively little help for teams seeking an upgrade. Ervin Santana could be the most sought-after starting pitcher, given his solid showing this year and his age (he turns 31 in December), and unless Robinson Cano works out a new deal with the Yankees between now and November, he’ll test a market with few buyers shopping in his price range.

The best of the rest: Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Brian McCann, A.J. Burnett, Tim Lincecum, Phil Hughes, Bronson Arroyo, Ricky Nolasco.