Because the glitz and glamour of rumour mongering is reserved for the annual baseball winter meetings, it’s often forgotten that prior to representatives from all 30 Major League teams and over 160 Minor League teams getting together in December, MLB’s general managers hold their own off season meeting in November.
This year’s gathering is at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, where coincidentally enough Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig just happens to sit on the Board of Directors. In addition to the top dogs of each franchise coming to Wisconsin, a myriad of beat reporting quote jockeys have followed in hot pursuit. Thanks to their hard work on the first day of the meetings we’ve learned the following.
- New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman took time out from the meetings to speak with one agent in particular: Bob Garber, the representative for both free agent pitchers Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson. According to Cashman, “We spoke in a non-descriptive fashion. It’s not in my interest to say I would be more interested or not interested, but I did talk to him about those two players.” The Yankees GM also claimed that he’s gotten trade inquires about Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, A.J. Burnett and Russell Martin.
- Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos isn’t as interested in committing the money or years that it will take to acquire a top flight closer as he is in merely landing one guy whose sole role will be pitching the ninth inning. He’s also confident that even if the new rules affecting free agent compensation go into effect immediately, Major League Baseball will “consider their impact on clubs.”
- Miami Marlins President Larry Beinfest played the role of PR man staying on message about the rebranding of his franchise by suggesting that “It’s just an exciting time for the franchise. Forget about ‘free agency this’ and ‘we’re having lunch with him’ and all that kind of stuff. I know it’s kind of cute and exciting. But it’s just in general the excitement around the franchise that we have a new home, we have a new manager, we have new uniforms, we have a vision of where we want to go. With the payroll increasing, I think it’s our job to kind of open up all the doors that we can. We’re looking for good players, period.”
- Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is non committal about his team’s potential interest in acquiring Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish by saying, “I think the timing is different in the sense that we’ve gotten a lot invested already in our starting rotation, whereas the winter of 2006, we didn’t have as much invested in our starting rotation. So there was a little bit more of an opening to get in aggressively on Daisuke, which may not be present this winter. We’ll see. Things change.” Cherington also revealed that he will be travelling to the Dominican Republic on Friday to see Yoenis Cespedes work out in person.
- Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro isn’t as concerned with the bench as his team’s fans apparently are, suggesting that “the bench played a lot last year and we won 102 games, so it can’t be that terrible.” It’s expected that John Mayberry Jr. will fill in for Ryan Howard to start the season as the team’s regular first baseman rehabilitates from his achilles injury. Amaro didn’t do anything to quell the continued speculation that the Phillies are interested in acquiring Michael Cuddyer to replace Raul Ibanez.
- St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak doesn’t foresee his organization chasing after Prince Fielder if Albert Pujols goes elsewhere.
- San Francisco GM Brian Sabean could be forgiven for being a little bit distracted during the meetings considering that his team will be pursuing a contract extension with Tim Lincecum.
- Los Angeles Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has “cast a wide net” in his search to bolster his team’s bullpen, contacting the agents for between five and ten different right handed relievers.
- New York Mets GM Sandy Aldersonmade it sound increasingly likely that his team will tender a contract to 30 year old outfielder Angel Pagan for the coming season. According to Alderson: “I think Angel gave us quite a bit that maybe was underappreciated. Maybe the defense was not up to his expectation or even ours. But he gave us some speed on the bases. He filled in I think reasonably well for Jose [Reyes] when he was out, filled in at the top of the lineup. So I think there were some positive things there that were maybe overlooked by some people. So if we have Angel in center field to begin next season, we’ll be happy with that.”
And The Rest
Obscure rules will stop Mike Trout from being considered for the 2012 Rookie of the Year award.
The Miami Marlins are believed to have offered Albert Pujols a nine year contract for something in the neighbourhood of $225 million.
Tom Gage of The Detroit News defends his Cy Young Award ballot which gave Jose Valverde a second place vote.
The Chicago Cubs appear to be very interested in ensuring that Mark Buehrle doesn’t leave town even if he does switch teams.
For the latest in staggering developments: Mark Kotsay will play for the San Diego Padres next season for $1.25 million.
The Colorado Rockies appear to be one of the more interested teams in Grady Sizemore.
Mark Ellis is the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new second baseman.
Finally, I get the impression that former Houston Astros players are more upset over the team moving to the American League than the current crop of Triple A players on the active roster.