Today is notable for a couple reasons, which means you’ll want to be paying attention: (1) the GM Meetings get underway in Phoenix, Arizona, and (2) free agents who’ve been made a qualifying offer by their former teams must decide whether to accept or reject.
Annually held at the outset of the offseason, the GM Meetings, as the name implies, offer an opportunity for all general managers – and other pertinent executives, agents, and MLB officials – to get together and start the process of unpacking the things they’d like to do in the coming months. Don’t expect huge news this week – occasionally you’ll see a trade or signing break, but it’s rare – but you can expect some specific rumors to start circulating as soon as today. Unlike the Winter Meetings (December 8 through December 11) where signings and trades are common, the GM Meetings are more of a precursor to deals. Conversations take place; discussions about having future discussions, and foundations laid.
Functionally, the GM Meetings also serve as an opportunity for club executives to get together to discuss MLB policy issues. For example, I suspect there will be league-wide discussions of the pace of play issues in the game, and the experiments currently going on in the Arizona Fall League. Usually, owners have a meeting this week, as well.
The GM Meetings run today through Wednesday.
Qualifying Offer Decisions
The free agents who received qualifying offers last week must decide by today at 4pm CT whether they will accept the one-year, $15.3 million offer. In the history of the qualifying offer, none has yet been accepted, but someone like Michael Cuddyer could finally buck that trend today.
You can see the full list of players who received an offer here, though the ones to watch are probably David Robertson (to whom the Cubs have been connected repeatedly, albeit surprisingly) and Francisco Liriano (who is reportedly still undecided about whether to accept or reject, but may be leaning toward rejecting).
The implications of Robertson’s decision are pretty clear (either he’s on the market or he’s not), but Liriano’s are more nuanced. If he accepts, he not only doesn’t sign with a new team, but he puts a $15.3 million dent in the Pirates’ budget. Maybe they don’t mind, since it’s not an unfair one-year deal, but maybe that also takes them out on Russell Martin. Alternatively, if Liriano rejects, I really find him to be an intriguing target for the Cubs. Not only does he have killer raw stuff, but his price tag might be dragged down by the draft pick compensation … which wouldn’t really hurt the Cubs much, since they have a protected first round pick.