Skip to content

Greetings from the 2012 Winter Meetings

Dec 3, 2012, 6:00 AM EDT

Winter Meetings sign

We are coming to you live from Music City U.S.A.  From the largest non-casino hotel in the country, if you care about such things. The reason: the 2012 Winter Meetings, where everyone in baseball who matters — except the players, for the most part — are assembling to, well, meet.

A lot of you know this drill by now, but for those who don’t, the Winter Meetings are baseball’s version of that one big convention the higher-ups in your company attend each year. Just, you know, with baseball. It’s in a big hotel. There are a lot of seminars and workshops and a big trade show and a job fair and if you didn’t know any better and just looked at it from the corner of your eye, you might think it’s the Annual Conference of Re-Insurers or the National HVAC Technicians Convention. Ninety percent of what goes on here is just an industry trade show, with people wearing lanyards with their name on it, trying desperately to find Blahblahblah Conference Room B so they can sit through some PowerPoint presentation.

But the 10% beyond that involves general managers, agents, players and the like discussing trades and free agent signings and positioning your favorite team for next season. There’s no reason why someone can’t sign Josh Hamilton in mid-November or early January, but when everyone goes off-site to a hotel, they’re just way more likely to talk about such things, so you get big deals. Last year Albert Pujols signed during the Winter Meetings. The year before that Carl Crawford did.  This is where the magic happens.

Among the magic on tap this year:

  • The new homes for top free agents Hamilton and Zach Greinke;
  • Potential trades for R.A. Dickey and Justin Upton;
  • The Tampa Bay Rays possibly leveraging their pitching depth to land a bat;
  • The Kansas City Royals possibly leveraging their position player depth to land an arm;
  • The Phillies, rumored to be in on all sorts of players, trying to find some way to revitalize their offense in order to better complement what is still a fine pitching staff;
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are as rich as Croesus, signing everyone who isn’t nailed down. And they’re taking a long hard look at the players who are nailed down.

In addition to the teams all looking to fill holes, the Winter Meetings will feature the Veterans Committee inductees to the Hall of Fame — we previewed that recently – and some public announcements from the game’s heavy hitters like Bud Selig, Scott Boras and guys like that.  It all happens here, and we’ll have it all.  Before that, though, some scene setting:

source:  I got here on Saturday.  This is a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, this place is gigantic and merely finding one’s room is a massive undertaking.  Seriously, check this out.  It took me 24 hours of trekking in order to get my bearings. Each of those different sections — Cascades, Delta, Conservatory, Magnolia, etc. — has its own giant atrium and gardens and waterfalls and stuff. Each also has its own room-numbering systems. So, for example, your room number may be 0179 in the Delta section. When you have to call the desk you’d say “I’m in Delta 0179,” which sounds a lot more like something from “Battlestar Galactica” than baseball. C’est la vie.

The second reason it was good that I got here early was because I was able to go to this cool restaurant that I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time and have what was nothing short of a transcendent meal. I normally wouldn’t share this info with you because it’s a personal thing, but it will be important for you to know about it in the event NBC fires me for sketchy expense reports. See, the restaurant is called The Catbird Seat, that phrase was one made famous by legendary Brooklyn Dodgers announcer Red Barber (and also James Thurber), and since there is a tenuous baseball connection I’m gonna see if NBC will pay for it. If not, well, it’s been nice knowin’ ya.

The important thing about the geography of the place is that, unlike the previous Winter Meetings HBT has covered, there really is no central meeting place.  Because it’s is so huge and spread out there is less of a sense that conversations are being observed and overheard. Which leads to interesting things like what happened yesterday: my girlfriend Allison on an elevator, hearing someone congratulating some official from the Orioles about … something. Saying “this is going to be great for Baltimore.”  Maybe it’s some business deal we’ll never see or care about.  Maybe, though, it’s a free agent signing we won’t hear about until later today. I don’t know. No one knows. There is a sense in this place, far more than in any of the previous three Winter Meetings, that things are happening just out of sight, behind some fern, beneath some waterfall or in some random grotto. Which is exciting and fun. Oh, and if the Orioles do announce a big signing today, I’m going to choose to credit Allison.

Anyway, that’s the scene.  I’ll be here through Thursday. Lots of things will be posted here at HBT. Other, more ephemeral  things, will be tweeted here.  As always, be sure to refresh HBT early and often this week, as we will be posting something about virtually everything that goes down from the hardest news events to the silliest rumors to everything in between. But don’t worry: we’ll guide you. It’ll all be OK.

Now, into the craziest week of baseball’s offseason.  But first: a picture of the band that was playing in the hotel’s Irish pub last night. Their name was — really — Def Leprechaun, and I found that to be quite amusing. They gave a shout out to the baseball people in town and played Peter Paul and Mary’s “Right Field.” I liked ’em. I shoulda bought one of their t-shirts.

source:

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers to call up prospect Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez to start Saturday

    May 29, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Texas Rangers pitcher Alex Gonzalez works against the New York Mets in exhibition action at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Saturday, April 4, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The teams tied, 4-4. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images) Getty Images

    Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez will make his major league debut on Saturday against the Red Sox.

  2. Rafael Soriano, still a free agent, gets rid of agent Scott Boras

    May 29, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rafael Soriano

    Rafael Soriano still wants to pitch and has fired agent Scott Boras in an effort to find work.

  3. Video: Josh Hamilton hits his first home run of the season

    May 29, 2015, 9:18 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton

    Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the season on Friday night against the Red Sox.

  4. Rockies starter Chad Bettis loses his no-hitter in the eighth inning

    May 29, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    Chad Bettis Chad Bettis

    Rockies starter Chad Bettis is trying to throw a no-hitter against the Phillies.

  5. Travis d’Arnaud’s return delayed due to a bone bruise in his wrist

    May 29, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Travis d'Arnaud Travis d'Arnaud

    The Mets will be without catcher Travis d’Arnaud a little while longer due to a bone bruise in his wrist.

  6. Mariners place James Paxton on the disabled list, recall Dominic Leone

    May 29, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    James Paxton James Paxton

    The Mariners will lose starter James Paxton for a couple of weeks due to strained finger tendon.

  7. Stephen Strasburg exits start in the second inning with an apparent injury

    May 29, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT

    Stephen Strasburg Stephen Strasburg

    Stephen Strasburg came out of Friday’s start after facing one batter in the second inning against the Reds.

  8. More than half of polled baseball fans prefer having the pitcher hit

    May 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Noah Syndergaard Noah Syndergaard

    More than one in two fans of major league baseball prefer having the pitcher hit as opposed to a designated hitter.

  9. Tuffy Gosewisch likely dealing with a torn ACL

    May 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Tuffy Gosewisch Tuffy Gosewisch

    Tuffy Gosewisch may be dealing with a torn ACL, which would likely end his season.

  10. Orioles expect Matt Wieters to return from Tommy John surgery next week

    May 29, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two Getty Images

    Wieters hasn’t played in the majors in nearly 13 months.

  11. Curt Schilling dishes on Ruben Amaro. As usual, cognitive dissonance reigns.

    May 29, 2015, 4:33 PM EDT

    schilling press

    Schilling says Amaro lacks self awareness, is elitist and has not been successful as a manager.

  12. Scott Feldman undergoes knee surgery, out six weeks

    May 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Scott Feldman AP

    Feldman is in the second season of a three-year, $30 million deal.

  13. Phillies designate for assignment Grady Sizemore

    May 29, 2015, 2:31 PM EDT

    Grady Sizemore Getty Images

    Sizemore hit just .250 with three homers and a .657 OPS in 99 games for the Phillies.

  14. Hey, Dan Uggla is good at something!

    May 29, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Uggla Hugs Getty Images

    Hint: he was doing it with the Braves too.

  15. Chipper Jones will fight you if you insult his “girl”

    May 29, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Chipper Jones AP

    43-years-old in years, 16 in temperament.

  16. Cody Asche is back with the Phillies, as a left fielder

    May 29, 2015, 12:16 PM EDT

    cody asche getty Getty Images

    Asche spent about three weeks in the minors.

  17. Andrew McCutchen is doing just fine now, thank you

    May 29, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    You can breathe now, Pirates fans. He’s back.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3979)
  2. D. Wright (3261)
  3. J. Cueto (3238)
  4. A. Garcia (3093)
  5. Y. Puig (3050)
  1. J. Lucroy (3049)
  2. R. Castillo (3003)
  3. M. Adams (2764)
  4. T. d'Arnaud (2584)
  5. A. Pujols (2561)