The 2014 MLB Winter Meetings kick off tomorrow morning in San Diego. What exactly are the Winter Meetings? Well, they’re something akin to the Trade Deadline, if the Trade Deadline were spread out over four days, were slightly less active, but also involved free agents.
In reality, the Meetings were more important back in the days before constant contact among execs and agents was technologically possible, but they still seem to bear quite a bit of active fruit. Just about every relevant decision maker in baseball gathers in one place for four days of discussions, meetings, official business, and other MLB activity. The Winter Meetings are also home to a great deal of MiLB activity, including a job fair. There’s also a trade show. If you were trying to imagine an offseason baseball convention that also included actual baseball activity, this would be it.
Folks will be flying into San Diego throughout the day today and into the night – I will not, as I remain un-credentialed, and will be covering things from my home office – and things tend to get rolling right away Monday morning, if they haven’t already by Sunday night. Historically, there are a bunch of rumors early on Monday, with actual activity starting to sprinkle in on Monday afternoon, straight through Wednesday night. Thursday morning is sometimes lighter, with the Rule 5 Draft taking place late in the morning. From there, folks jet out, either having made a bunch of moves, or at least having laid some foundations.
Last year’s meetings were remarkably quiet (for the Winter Meetings, anyway), but, if you’ll recall, the week that preceded the meetings was absolutely insane with activity. That didn’t happen this year, which suggests to me that we could be in for a crazy week in San Diego.
For the Cubs’ part in 2013, Jeff Samardzija and Masahiro Tanaka were the focus of the rumors – funny to think about that now – though they did pull off a few things. Word of the Cubs’ interest in Jason Hammel popped up on Tuesday, which obviously would ultimately culminate in a deal later in the offseason. The Cubs lost a handful of players in the Rule 5 Draft, and traded Brian Bogusevic for Justin Ruggiano on Thursday. The Cubs made a handful of minor league signings throughout the week, and Thursday evening, the Cubs signed Tsuyoshi Wada to a minor league deal. Then on Friday, the Cubs signed Ryan Kalish and John Baker to minor league deals, and claimed Liam Hendriks off of waivers (remember him?).
So, yeah, it wasn’t super active last year. Tons of rumors, though, and quite a bit of mid-tier moves around the league. Just not a whole lot of big thunder. I have a feeling this year will be different.
To more fully capture the spirit of the Winter Meetings, my threshold for what gets a post here at BN tends to drop a bit during the week – i.e., if it’s interesting and exciting, even if not directly related to the Cubs, I’m more likely to write about it this week than at other times of the year.
And, as a reminder: because you donated to JDRF a couple weeks ago (silly me thought it would take longer to raise funds, but you guys leapt on it immediately), I will be wearing this ugly Cubs sweater for the entire week of the Winter Meetings (including a live stream at 8pm CT on Tuesday). Join me at some point during the week, and wear an ugly sweater of your own. It’s an Ugly Sweater Winter Meetings Party! Send a picture of you in your ugly sweater – tweet it to @BleacherNation or send it to my email, brett AT bleachernation DOT com – and I’ll share it at the site. Don’t make me party in this thing alone: