Sometimes things just work out that are out of our control. The Texas Rangers got hot at the right time and won the World Series this year, and I happened to find myself in the middle of the MLB Winter Meetings earlier this week. Our oldest daughter Sophia needed to go to Nashville for a few days, and so we had planned a road trip quite a while ago. I booked a room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort not even thinking that some of the time we would be there, would coincide with the MLB Winter Meetings.
I wasn't in town to cover the MLB Winter Meetings, but that didn't keep me from seeing more baseball personalities in one place than I ever had. The way that everything was setup, the general public had access to the main congregating area and where all of the TV and radio sets were. The only places that I didn't have access was to the media workroom or the area where the manager interviews were taking place.
Texas Rangers sign Kirby Yates and take Carson Coleman in the Rule 5 Draft
Throughout Sunday afternoon and Monday, I was able to meet several media people and get a feel for what the MLB Winter Meetings are all about. From a fan's perspective, the MLB Winter Meetings are all about big trades and free agent signings. Fans want to see the hot stove fired up and cranking at a high temperature. That is not at all what they got this year. The Rangers did sign former All-Star reliever Kirby Yates to a one-year deal and selected RHP Carson Coleman from the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft. While those are good moves by the Rangers, they lack the excitement of a top of the rotation signing or trade.
But it wasn't just the Rangers that were not making splashy moves. In fact, until the Juan Soto trade to the Yankees went down last night, the biggest move of the meetings was the Milwaukee Brewers signing their top prospect Jackson Chourio to an eight-year, $82 million dollar deal before he plays a single game in the majors. Much of the buzz and discussions at the MLB Winter Meetings was centered on Shohei Ohtani. The was much talk that the hot stove was going to be basically on hold until Ohtani finally decides where he is going and gets his deal inked. A constipated market was how some put it, and that seems like a decent description.
From my perspective, the MLB Winter Meetings was fun from a people watching standpoint. I literally bumped into both Ron Washington and Aaron Boone and said hello to or at least saw countless other managers, GMs, and media personalities. While I didn't get to speak to Chris Young, he did walk by me, and he is every bit as tall in person as he appears on TV. Scott Boras just looks like money and as someone pointed out, it is because he has it all.
MLB Winter Meetings a baseball networking must
It is clear to me that the MLB Winter Meetings is as much a networking event as it is roster-building time. Media people could hang out with their colleagues and share stories, ideas, and perhaps resumes if needed. Front offices were also networking with other front offices so even if a deal couldn't be reached this week, there would be those relationships that might help foster a deal down the road.
While there is a ton of emphasis on the data and numbers of baseball, it remains a game that is played by people and run by people. Those people who run it were all gathered in Nashville this week and were able to gain new relationships and build on existing ones. It was an interesting dance to be able to witness from the ropes and I am thankful that I got to have a sneak peek into the comings and goings of all things MLB Winter Meetings.
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