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What to expect from Blue Jays, rumour mill at MLB GM Meetings

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – If you didn’t know any better, baseball’s GM Meetings could be mistaken for any North American business conference.

A lot of khakis, a lot of quarter zips and a slate of meetings to discuss the finer points of an industry – whether that happens to be dentistry, software development or Major League Baseball.

Granted, you’re less likely to find dozens of media members lurking in the lobby of a dentists’ convention. But at their core, the MLB GM Meetings are an administrative event. This is where executives discuss potential tweaks to the replay system, offer feedback on MLB’s recent efforts to prevent illegal sign stealing and compare notes on health and safety procedures.

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Once they’re done with that? Then it’s finally time to talk trades and start exploring deals with what looks like a tremendous class of free agents. And as of Sunday evening, MLB’s quiet period is over, meaning all those free agents are now able to sign with any team.

All day Monday, baseball executives from around the country will be arriving at the site of this year’s meetings, the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. As they prepare for the first full week of the off-season, we’ll look more closely at what goes on behind the scenes at the GM Meetings and what to expect from the Blue Jays.

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Who attends the GM Meetings?

After going virtual in 2020, the MLB GM Meetings are back to being an in-person event. And there’s a chance this is the only major off-season event that takes place this year with many expecting the Winter Meetings to be cancelled if there’s no new collective bargaining agreement when the current one expires Dec. 1.

For now, at least, it’s business as usual. That means each team sends a small handful of executives – typically a GM, an assistant GM or two and a couple more high-ranking executives (some but not all team presidents attend).

That’s on the team side. The league itself sends executives to run the scheduled meetings and be sure the 30 clubs get the information they need.

Along with all those team and league officials, many agents attend, too – though some consider it unnecessary depending on which free agents they represent that year. This year’s agent meetings are set to begin in Carlsbad on Thursday, meaning many agents will show up a day or two early to allow for some in-person meetings with teams.

Lastly, there’s a media contingent covering the event. It adds up to a few hundred people, but compared to the chaos of the Winter Meetings it’s far smaller in scale, allowing GMs to conduct business with relatively few interruptions from autograph collectors or job seekers.

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Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

What actually happens in these free agent meetings?

When teams and agents meet this time of year, a sort of dance unfolds. There are initial expressions of interest and promises to keep in touch, but firm offers are less common. Get ready to hear the phrase ‘laying the groundwork’ a lot this week.

For instance, let’s go back to 2019, the last time baseball held traditional GM Meetings. That week, a Blue Jays contingent including manager Charlie Montoyo met in person with catcher Yasmani Grandal, who was then a free agent. There was enough mutual interest for a meeting, but that ‘groundwork’ never led anywhere concrete.

That year, the Blue Jays were also intent on adding pitching so they also held internal discussions about the likes of Jordan Lyles, Julio Teheran, Dallas Keuchel and Wade Miley. In some cases – Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi, for example – talks got more serious. And while we didn’t know it at the time, the preliminary discussions the Blue Jays held regarding Tanner Roark and Hyun-Jin Ryu at those 2019 GM meetings would eventually lead to deals.

Of course not all of it is so structured. Now that the GM Meetings are once again an in-person event there’s the chance for unplanned run-ins between baseball people in lobbies, coffee lineups and outside elevators. Sometimes those little interactions can lead to much bigger deals.

What should we expect from the Blue Jays this year?

If the right deal emerges, the Blue Jays will strike, as they did with a one-year, $8 million deal for Robbie Ray this time last year. More likely, though? Meetings that provide the Blue Jays with useful information about the market and set up deals later in the winter.

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That won’t stop the rumours from flowing, as agents sometimes like to link their clients to the Blue Jays now that they’re spending quite aggressively. There will be truth to many of those rumours, as the Blue Jays are nothing if not thorough. Especially in a year where they have clear needs for a bat and multiple pitchers, they’ll check on the vast majority of free agents, including the best of the best.

But it’s also worth understanding how these rumours emerge. For instance, agencies will often present information on numerous free agents at once instead of creating separate meetings for each player. That means when the Blue Jays meet with Scott Boras about Marcus Semien, other Boras clients like Corey Seager, Max Scherzer and Kris Bryant are likely to come up in conversation.

So, brace yourself for headlines along the lines of ‘Blue Jays interested in Max Scherzer.’ They’ll technically be true. The Blue Jays will certainly engage on top free agents once again, and what big-market team wouldn’t have interest in Scherzer? But it’s one thing to discuss a player at the GM Meetings and it’s another thing to find mutual interest and develop real traction on a deal.

This week, it’s all about getting those conversations started.





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The Timberwolves Are Now Back On Track

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The Minnesota Timberwolves had a dominant performance over the top-seeded Denver Nuggets on Sunday, beating that team 128-98.

It was an impressive showing for multiple reasons.

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But it was made even more impressive when you look at Minnesota’s recent track record.

The Timberwolves have won seven of their last ten games and have beaten each of the top three teams in the West during that time.

To make that record even better, they had the best defensive rating in the league during the span of time.

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The Timberwolves are starting to finally look like the team fans were expecting in the summer.

As you recall, they rocked the entire NBA world in the offseason when they acquired Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz.

There was talk of the Timberwolves being the best team in the West since Gobert was joining players like D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and others.

But the team has been shaky throughout the season, suffering multiple losses that seemed avoidable.

Perhaps they just needed time to get their act together and figure out how to play in sync.

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On Sunday night, there were six players who scored in double digits, including Gobert, Russell, and Edwards.

Before that big victory, the Timberwolves also defeated the Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, and others.

That certainly looks like a team that has its sights set on the top of the Western Conference.

Sure enough, Minnesota has now climbed to 7th place in their conference, which is much better than where they were just a few weeks ago.

Coming up for the Timberwolves are tough competitions against the Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Grizzlies, and Dallas Mavericks.

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How many more big wins can they achieve?

The post The Timberwolves Are Now Back On Track appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Tyler O’Neill Is Ready To Go For 2023

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Tyler O’Neill burst onto the scene with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021 and secured the starting left field job.

He put together a 34-home run season and was set to be a key contributor for the team in 2022.

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Unfortunately, injuries took their toll on the Cardinals star.

The slugger hit the injured list three times during the 2022 season and was limited to just 96 games.

However, O’Neill says he feels stronger heading into the 2023 season and is preparing to bounce back from a year in which he hit just .228.

The 27-year-old spoke with MLB Network radio on Monday to discuss his preparation and plans for the 2023 season.

O’Neill talked a lot about his offseason work.

He revealed that he had been in St. Louis for much of the offseason working with coaches to perfect his swing.

He also talked about a more intense training routine he has been following this winter and how he has gotten back to doing some heavy lifting as the season approaches.

The slugger and two-time Gold Glove Award winner expressed confidence that his offseason routine will ultimately pay dividends, even going as far as to say his training regimen had gone to “a whole new level.”

This should be encouraging for Cardinals fans to hear.

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Outside of adding Willson Contreras, the team hasn’t made any other significant moves, instead putting their faith in some of their internal options, such as O’Neill.

But if O’Neill is back to where he was in 2021, the Cardinals could have a very dangerous lineup.

The post Tyler O’Neill Is Ready To Go For 2023 appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Tom Brady Reveals When He Will Start His Broadcasting Career

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Now that legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has retired again, and seemingly for good this time, football fans are wondering what will be next for him.

He is set to join Fox Sports’ broadcast team for coverage of its NFL games, however, he told Colin Cowherd that he will wait until the fall of 2024 to begin in that capacity.

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Brady says he will wait because he wants to be prepared and be the best broadcaster he can be, as well as to catch up on other areas of his personal life.

He, of course, called it quits a year ago, only to come out of retirement weeks later for one more season in Tampa Bay.

But it was a frustrating one, as the team finished just 8-9, and he didn’t look like his old self for much of the year.

Brady was seen displaying frustration and even anger on the sidelines several times in 2022, something that seemed very out of character for him.

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Some have attributed his struggles to his personal life, which seemed to be in bad shape, mainly because of the end of his long-time marriage to model Gisele Bundchen.

But now, Brady has hung up his cleats before the end of his career marred his unprecedented legacy, something which too many great athletes have unfortunately done.

He retires with seven Super Bowl championships, three regular season MVPs, five Super Bowl MVPs, and the consensus acknowledgment as the greatest player in NFL history.

Now, he can impart his knowledge and wisdom to millions of viewers across the nation.

The post Tom Brady Reveals When He Will Start His Broadcasting Career appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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