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2013 Winter Meetings Preview

Dec 8, 2013, 9:58 AM EDT

Winter Meetings pic

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Greetings from the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, deep in the dark recesses of the happiest place on Earth. I have been down here with my children since last Tuesday, doing battle with a mouse. The mouse is a worthy adversary. Much respect for him and his hyper-efficiency at separating a man from his hard-earned dollars. Normally when you spend as much money as I have these past few days you feel regret and maybe even some anger. All I can do now, however, is tip my hat in awe and wonder at just how good the mouse is at what he does best.

Now I return my full attention to baseball and its biggest offseason event: The Winter Meetings.

One might think that, given the outrageous flurry of free agent and trade activity over the past week, the Winter Meetings would be anticlimactic and boring. Cano did what everyone expected and took all of the Mariners’ money.  Carlos Beltran signed with the Yankees. Joe NathanJacoby EllsburyJarrod SaltalamacchiaA.J. PierzynskiPaul KonerkoJustin MorneauScott Kazmir and Ryan Vogelsong all signed deals in, like, a six minute period last week. There were something like seven trades last week involving close to 30 players. The wheel spun ’round and ’round and everyone was cast hither and thither and yon. So this week will just be baseball executives drinking and shooting the breeze and stuff, right?

Not necessarily.

Nelson CruzShin-Soo Choo, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo, Stephen Drew, Bartolo Colon, Kendrys Morales, Grant Balfour, Corey Hart, James Loney and many, many more free agents are still on the board. Big names like Matt Kemp, Mark TrumboDavid Price, Brett Anderson and Jeff Samardzija are on — or are at least rumored to be on — the trading block. Maybe the sexiest of the sexiest deals have been done, but there is still volume business to attend to on the hot stove.

It’s also worth remembering that the Winter Meetings are about more than trades and signings. Indeed, the bulk of the 3,000 or so people who have descended on Disney World don’t care about that stuff. They are here to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball. Ever year we hear about a rule change. Or a proposal for future rule changes. Or changes in the circumstances of the game, be it relocation, realignment, replay or any other “re” you can imagine. The point of meetings are for humans to actually get together rather than send emails around, and as most of you know, when you get face-to-face with someone, more things can get done. Expect the unexpected. Expect something new to come out of Bud Selig’s office before we all go home.

Finally, there is Hall of Fame business to attend to. There’s a great chance that Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, George Steinbrenner and maybe — at long, long last — Marvin Miller will be voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee when it meets later this week. Steve Garvey, Dave Parker, Billy Martin and many others from the 1970s-on are under consideration as well.

So, no, we will not be on Cano-Watch this week. We will almost certainly not see anything as big this week as we saw last time the Winter Meetings were in Florida and the Red Sox did things like acquire Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. But baseball is about more than its stars. It’s about several thousand players across 30 major league and 243 affiliated minor league teams. It’s about the execs and employees of those teams. It’s about all of them meeting each day and showing up in the lobby of a strange-looking hotel each evening to drink, chat, brainstorm, mingle and — if we’re at all lucky — get up to no-good.

And HardballTalk will be following it all closely, from both on-site and from our satellite offices around the country. Be sure to check back often between now and Thursday to keep fully-apprised of everyone in baseball doing the do.

  1. cur68 - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Ah. There he is. The Blogger in Chief. Stunned that they let you in theDisney Room door clad only in a bathrobe. Mind you, that duck they pay doesn’t wear pants, so maybe you fit right in?

    I see you’re up to date on the big news: Cano’s a Mariner & Ellsbury’s a Stormtrooper. I think the last big question is: who gets Ubaldo? Of the SPs left l think he’s got the most promise. And every man and his dog needs pitching.

    • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Thanks Cur, I was wondering what the Cards surplus of starters were going to be doing once they don’t make the 25 man roster, and you are correct, pet care.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      Thumb Harpy Sunday! Did someone make parole?

  2. blynch67 - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    “from our satellite offices around the country” a.k.a., a kitchen table and some guys’ laptop….

    Nice try

  3. historiophiliac - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Don’t fall in the fountain!

    • cur68 - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      That’s right! One of them fell in the fountain 2 years ago at the Winter Meetings. He better watch what he’s doing this time. Those hotel lobbies can be tricky…

  4. garryfish - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    The most wonderful time of the year…..for a baseball fan!!

  5. hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    What the hell. Am I banned? Why are my posts not showing up?

    • historiophiliac - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Did you cuss? I understand that it won’t let people post potty words anymore. But, sometime WordPress eats comments — usually when it’s busier though…

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        I wrote up my version of the GM meetings. It was good too.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        Alter the wording a little and try again. You might draft it in another format and cut and paste it, in case WP is being impatient.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        It was long, but good, in my opinion. It had a “B” word in it when Jack Z claimed to be the original Jay Z, but that’s about it.

      • jwbiii - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:59 PM

        A Short Treatise on Cursing on Nannied Websites

        All html characters have other ways of typing them in to make them display. These are called character entities. All of them have numbers, some of them have names. They all have the form & something ; without the spaces. Some of the named ones are useful in baseball discussions.

        & yen ; ¥
        & reg ; ®
        & ntilde ; ñ

        Sorry to digress from cursing. Letters also have character entities, but they only have numbers.

        & #97 ; a
        & #101 ; e
        & #105 ; i
        & #111 ; o
        & #117 ; u

        With a little extra work, you say any f&117;cking thing you want and not be censored.

      • jwbiii - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        Well, well, well. Word Press has built a smarter nanny. As my father would say, That’s a revoltin’ development.

        Or maybe it doesn’t recognize numbered character entities at all. Euro symbol or garbage?

        & #140 ; Œ

  6. anxovies - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Welcome back, Craig. I bet you thought you were taking your family vacation at the safest time, right? Nothing ever happens the week before the Winter meetings. And you are right about the hotel. It looks like a futuristic riverboat with giant mushrooms growing on it.

  7. moogro - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Mickey and Minnie bubble pipes for the kids.

  8. sdelmonte - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Welcome back, Craig. On the one hand, you didn’t great to write about everything from last week. OTOH, you get to spend two weeks in warm weather, get to attend the winter meetings, get to be with your kids. So I guess you come out ahead.

    Even though I am sure Robby Cano said he timed his signing to annoy you. I am sure it’s in there somewhere.

  9. hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    By satellite offices, do you mean basements and coffee shops?

  10. cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Wow. This Post must have set the record for the most thumbs down on the replies that I have ever seen.

  11. buffalo65 - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Excited to see what the Jays pick up. The other east teams are weaker now than at the start of the pre season. The under the radar Jays can grab Anderson, maybe another starter, tweet a couple things and steal the east while Boston and New York fans are squabbling over who’s the better third place team.

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      I expect that the Jays will try to obtain a left handed starting pitcher (Quintanna or Santiego) from the White Sox and will offer a package that includes either Santos or Delabar. I also expect that they will make an offer to Michael Young.

  12. keltictim - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Ahh the mouse. He is good at getting that money isn’t he. There is only one better, I believe Mooby had higher profit ratios last year. That crazy golden calf bounced back quick after that awful situation at the board meeting.

  13. buffalo65 - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Why Micheal Young? Not sure where he fits. I do see a white sox trade happening.

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