Get ready for a ton of baseball rumors, wild trade scenarios and even a few free agent signings, because the giant schmoozefest known as Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings gets underway next week at the Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee.
Last year the meetings saw a flurry of activity as the Miami Marlins doled out a whopping $191 million and free agent Albert Pujols came off the board, signing his $240 mega deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
But, if you are looking for that type of action again this year, you might be disappointed.
While Pujols seemed intent on getting a deal done at last year's meetings, this year's big ticket item, outfielder Josh Hamilton, doesn't seem to be in all that big of a rush to put pen to paper.
Then again, there really hasn't been that much of a market for the former MVP.
You've heard the Seattle Mariners, the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers and even to a lesser extent the Philadelphia Phillies mentioned as suitors, but that is all guess work at this point. He hasn't met with anyone, nor has any team showed all that much interest.
Most assume he's still going to be property of the Texas Rangers when this whole process is said and done, but don't be shocked if the Boston Red Sox somehow get involved next week. They have a ton of money to spend and a few outfield spots to fill.
And there are plenty of outfielders available, as Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino are all looking for homes.
The biggest player to sign next week could be righty Zack Greinke, who is being courted by Texas and the Los Angeles Dodgers among others. The Angels, though, could still swoop in and retain the former Cy Young winner's services. The Angels always seem to make a splash at these meetings and Greinke pitched well for Mike Scioscia's club down the stretch.
Once Greinke gets signed, expect business to pick up for the likes of Anibal Sanchez, Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse.
Another team to watch next week will be the Kansas City Royals, who are dangling super outfield prospect Wil Myers for a frontline starting pitcher. They were linked to Boston's Jon Lester and Tampa Bay's James Shields earlier in the week and could also be in the mix for the Rays' Matt Moore.
This much is sure. The Royals are loaded with young talent. They are going to get a top pitcher next week.
Then there are the Mets and what they will do with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who can become a free agent at the end of next season. With David Wright's extension complete, the Mets may not have any money left for the knuckleballer.
Even if they do have the money and reports are that the 38-year-old Dickey's willing to take a two-year extension, the Mets should still look to move him. His trade value will never be higher than it is now. Deal him. They may not be able to get a Myers-like prospect from the Royals, but they could land Alex Gordon.
Oddly enough, the last time the Winter Meetings were held in Nashville back in 2007 Dickey was a Rule 5 Draft selection of the Seattle Mariners. It cost Seattle $50,000 to pluck him away from Minnesota and later it had to send a minor league prospect to the Twins so Dickey could start the year for the Mariners at Triple-A.
What a difference a few years makes, huh?
When it comes to the Winter Meetings, keep one thing in mind: believe nothing. There are going to be a-million-and-one rumors over the next week, and chances are none of them will come true.