The task of deciding when the 2020 MLB Winter Meetings concluded is difficult. Usually, there are media members such as myself on site, and we can witness the steady stream of executives checking out of the hotel, luggage in hand, en route to the airport. I remember one year seeing Brian Cashman checking out and saying to myself, "OK, I guess my work here is done" and heading straight to the hotel bar.
This time around, who the hell knows. Very little actually happened during the virtual Winter Meetings this week.
We do know the White Sox acquired Lance Lynn from the Rangers and signed Adam Eaton. The Royals signed Carlos Santana. The Angels traded for Raisel Iglesias. The Mets appear to be on the verge of signing James McCann. The Rangers hired Chris Young (the really tall former pitcher; not the former outfielder) as general manager.
That's...it? In this offseason with all the big-name free agents still available and several high-profile players likely on the trade block?
Winner: White Sox
Perhaps you don't love the additions of starting pitcher Lance Lynn and right fielder Adam Eaton. That's fine. The White Sox got better while they already looked like they had a chance to be the best team in the AL Central. Meanwhile, few AL teams did anything of substance. That's a win on the South Side, especially with them coming off breakthrough season that was followed by a PR nightmare of an offseason.
They are coming off their first winning record and playoff berth since 2013. The roster looked like it should've played better than it did for the majority of the season before a late hot streak, too. Trevor Bauer is all but gone in free agency and maybe that isn't their fault. They didn't get much back for closer Raisel Iglesias, though, and also appear primed to trade Sonny Gray (and maybe more?).
So they rebuilt, turned things around, spent money during the last two offseasons, made the playoffs and are now shedding payroll again? Yeah, I know the pandemic changed plans on the fly, but this is terrible.
Winner: James McCann
McCann was non-tendered by the Tigers after the 2018 season as a career .240/.288/.366 (76 OPS+) hitter. Now, heading to his age-31 season, he's reportedly close to getting a four-year deal with the Mets, who are one of the few teams primed to actually try hard this offseason. This is neither an indictment of the possible signing from the Mets' end nor a praising of it. We're simply pointing out just two years ago he was basically cut and now he's looking at a four-year deal in this climate. That's a major win for Mr. McCann, assuming it comes through.
Winner? Mets fans?
We can't be 100 percent sure yet, but it sure looks like the Mets have finally been freed from the shackles of a cheap ownership group and have their version of a Steinbrenner in terms of wanting to spend whatever it takes to win. They have long dreamed on this and Steve Cohen just might be that guy.
I speak of the connection to the Mets and free agents George Springer and Trevor Bauer.
Of course, the execution has to be there, too. Time will tell.
They ranked in the bottom third of baseball last season with a 4.63 bullpen ERA. Worse, still, were their 14 blown saves, which were the most in baseball. It's really hard to blow 14 saves in 60 games. That's a 162-game pace of 37. The full-season record is 34.
Enter Raisel Iglesias. He's closed down 106 saves in 122 tries in his MLB career. He pitched to a 2.74 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 31 strikeouts against four unintentional walks in 23 innings last year. Slotting Iglesias at the back of his bullpen will make things easier for Joe Maddon in the late innings for sure.
Loser: Scott Boras
The super agent is a polarizing figure, but there is no doubt the high point of the year for him as a public face is the Winter Meetings. Not only does he make the rounds on national and local media appearances, whether TV or radio, but he gets to meet face to face with teams reps and one day -- usually Wednesday afternoon -- he stands somewhere in the lobby and holds court. It's a scrum with legions of media surrounding him, holding up recording devices whether video or audio. He talks poorly about teams not spending, he coins catch phrases for his biggest-name free agents. Most of all, though, he completely steals attention from anyone or anything else baseball-related during the window of time he's standing there.
Winner: Media avoiding the Boras scrum
It might seem a prime position to be close to Boras during said scrum, but look at that mass of humanity. Believe it or not, it's gotten bigger each year...
Not only would you be stuck there for the entirety of Boras' pontifications -- good luck getting out of that -- but it has to be like a billion degrees on the inside of that bubble. Meantime, you are furiously tweeting out every little thing muttered by Boras on your phone, while trying to continue listening. For the reporters who got to skip this part this year, that's a major win.
Loser? Future Winter Meetings sites
Look, it's not like it's the Super Bowl or anything, but the local economies get a bit of a boost for the Winter Meetings. It's roughly four days that the event fills up multiple hotels in the area, which in turns provides boosts to the restaurant industry -- don't forget about the uptick in alcohol sales. The concern after this season is that with MLB and its 30 big-league teams wanting to save money, perhaps they'll realize due to technology there's no longer a need for such an event to put everyone together in the same place for a touch less than a week. That means it's possible the 2021 version in Nashville and 2022 in San Diego (don't you dare, MLB!) could be in jeopardy.
Loser: Nearly all of us
What an utter dud of a week. We all lost. Well, almost all of us (congrats again, James McCann!).
Discuss all things Cardinals Baseball
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
- All Hail the New GDT Master
- Posts: 27760
- Joined: April 26 11, 6:06 am
- Location: Columbus, OH
MLB Winter Meetings: Winners and losers from underwhelming week where virtually nothing happened