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MLB winter meetings Day 2: Five storylines to watch

This is Yahoo Sports’ daily winter meetings preview. For a running list of the most important deals and rumors, check out our winter meetings tracker.

SAN DIEGO — Stephen Strasburg was the first person to get massively paid at this year’s baseball winter meetings, which was a bit of a surprise after all the chatter we’d heard about Gerrit Cole in recent days.

It was a jaw-dropping $245 million for Strasburg, which will only set the stage for a bigger payday for Cole. Whether it happens this week, while the baseball world is centered around San Diego, or next week as we scatter back to our homes, make no mistake, Gerrit Cole is about to get paid.

Our daily rundown of winter meetings storylines starts with Cole and also includes Madison Bumgarner, Starling Marte and a new award that’s being announced Tuesday.

1. Will Gerrit Cole sign this week?

It seems to be the dominant question: Will Cole make his choice soon? The market seems to be at its peak coming off the Strasburg news, with predictions that Cole could get up to $300 million. Nothing has changed in terms of the teams involved. It’s the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers, with the Yankees reportedly making their first official offer to Cole on Monday.

Question is, how motivated is Cole to make quick work of free agency?

Remember, there’s no actual deadline for any of this. If Cole signs while all of baseball is in San Diego, it’s really no different than if he signs next Monday.

2. If the Yankees get Cole, then what?

Cole to the Yankees is very possible, which has people already pondering what would happen next. In that case, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees would be inclined to trade pitcher J.A. Happ to clear a little bit of money and room in the rotation.

The Yankees have been shopping Happ for a couple of months, Sherman says, so maybe that goes down with or without a Cole deal — or maybe the Yankees are confident that they’ll get Cole.

3. What about the other free agent starters?

With Strasburg and Cole dominating chatter, the fact remains that plenty of other teams need starting pitchers and other free agents need homes. The two getting the most interest right now, it would seem, are Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-jin Ryu.

Plenty of teams are interested in MadBum, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman:

4. Marte on the move?

I mentioned a handful of star players in Monday’s column that could get traded. Among them, Starling Marte, the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder, seems the most likely. There’s a new regime in Pittsburgh, and it seems like a good time to move on from Marte.

According to Jon Heyman, the Pirates want a young catcher. Marte has also been linked to the Mets in recent weeks — but that could be more about his desire to pay for the Mets than the Mets’ desire to trade for him.

5. What to watch for: The All-MLB Team

Something new happening Tuesday at the winter meetings: MLB is announcing who has been named to the first All-MLB team. The league created its own set of awards this year, voted on by the fans, with the winners coming Tuesday afternoon. A few of the winners will be presented in San Diego to accept.

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