Between the years-long pandemic and last winter’s lockout of the players by Major League Baseball, we’ve not seen a ‘normal’ offseason in quite some time. Barring another unforeseen, last minute interruption, we’ll finally be given that again this year, with MLB’s Winter Meetings in San Diego next week something of a celebration of administrative and transactional events to which we can look forward.
They kick off on Sunday, December 4th at the Marriott Marquis in sunny San Diego, and will continue through Wednesday, December 7th. While reps from every MLB club and every agent in the galaxy will be on-hand negotiating contracts and trades, we’ll also have the Rule 5 Draft to monitor - that’ll take place as the meetings conclude on Wednesday, the 7th.
(For some more relevant information on the Rule 5 Draft, here’s an article from MLB Pipeline discussing one player from each MLB franchise who might make for a good selection in the upcoming draft.)
The Winter Meetings are, it should be noted, more a place where team representatives can interact in one sunny place for three days during the winter than they are, say, a formal requirement. Teams aren’t sending four to six reps to San Diego to sit in a giant conference room and read printed-out PowerPoint slides while someone else stands in front of the room and reads every word that’s also actually printed out on the PowerPoint slides. Rather, they’re there with an agenda, and get to spend it in an environment that’s conducive to getting the commas and zeroes hammered out on free agent contracts and the handshakes from other GMs on trades.
New York will, per usual, be dominating the talk. With Aaron Judge a free agent after his gargantuan MVP campaign, front-page talk will hound the Yankees until their star is signed, or signed elsewhere. Meanwhile, Steve Cohen’s endless pocketbook will keep the Mets firmly in the news, especially as they try to court Jacob deGrom back into their good graces.
Star shortstops abound in free agency this winter, with each of Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson looking to break into the nine-figure guarantee club. Carlos Rodon will make a fine ace for someone, somewhere, while there are at least three to five minor league free agents with invites to spring training out there for the Cincinnati Reds to track down - Opening Day Cleanup Hitter Chad Pinder™ sure does have a ring to it!
If you’re a fan of how teams get built, well, this is the closest thing to Baseball Christmas that you can get, really. If you’re a fan of a team that’s rebuilding, however...well, let’s just say it’s a moment that can let you know precisely how screwed your team is for another calendar year. Either way, it’s a stage-setter for the upcoming season like no other, and it’s what we - and the rest of the baseball world - will be anticipating with great aplomb this week.