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



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.


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.

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.


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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Fans React To Notable Miguel Cabrera News



(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)


Friday came with big news for Detroit Tigers fans.

Not only they are enjoying Miguel Cabrera’s last series as an active major leaguer, but they also found out that the talented slugger already has a job lined up in the organization once this weekend’s series is over.


“Following Sunday’s game, Miguel Cabrera’s next chapter will be in Detroit as a Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations,” the team announced.

Fans weren’t afraid to voice their opinion on this move.

Most of them were happy to learn that the franchise legend, who won just about every individual accolade there is to win with the Tigers, will at least have an influence on baseball decisions in the future.

It could be a positive influence for the Tigers’ current players to see Cabrera around Comerica Park often, although his exact role is still undetermined (or least hasn’t been revealed).

There is an important aspect of retaining Cabrera in an advisor/assistant role: he could stay around the organization, helping Latin players in anything they may need from adapting to the culture, to the language.

Perhaps it will be Cabrera’s first experience in what could be a career making baseball decisions in Detroit at some point, although it’s unclear if it will be a role that interests him.

In any case, he is one of the biggest, most prominent Tigers in history, and having him around so quickly after retiring is huge news for the organization as it tries to return to contention eventually.

The post Fans React To Notable Miguel Cabrera News appeared first on The Cold Wire.


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Blazers Legend Shares His Thoughts On Damian Lillard Trade



(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)


Earlier this week, the Portland Trail Blazers were finally able to pull off a blockbuster trade to send superstar guard Damian Lillard to another team.

Ultimately, the team was able to put together a three-team deal, in which Lillard goes to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Jrue Holiday and Deandre Ayton, which is a pretty good haul considering the circumstances.


Although all signs pointed to Lillard being shipped to the Miami Heat at some point this summer due to his desire to play in South Beach with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, he landed in an ideal spot that might give him an even better chance to compete for a title in what could be the last few years of his career.

As for the Blazers, the team was able to get a solid return for the face of the franchise and can now begin the rebuilding process around rookie guard Scoot Henderson.

In the aftermath of Lillard being traded to the Bucks, Blazers legend Terry Porter chimed in on the deal and what he thinks about what transpired this week via SiriusXM NBA Radio.

Porter seems to think that the Bucks and Blazers got a good deal in this blockbuster trade, even though he didn’t mention the Phoenix Suns, who were the third team.

It’s hard to argue with Porter’s stance, as the Blazers accomplished what they wanted and will be able to get more by trading Holiday, who is now a hot commodity around the league.

As for the Bucks, the team can focus on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lillard being a new dynamic duo while not having to depend on the shaky health situation of Khris Middleton moving forward.

The post Blazers Legend Shares His Thoughts On Damian Lillard Trade appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Rachel Nichols Talks Suns’ Status After Blockbuster Trade



(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


The Phoenix Suns were the third team in the blockbuster Damian Lillard trade between the Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers.

The Suns offloaded Deandre Ayton in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson.


While Ayton was the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, his relationship with the Suns had deteriorated beyond repair over the last few seasons.

Keeping that in mind, NBA analyst Rachel Nichols believes that the Suns ultimately got better after trading away Ayton, via “Undisputed” on Twitter.

“Big picture, they got better. It’s enough to bump them up in the Western Conference, and the Ayton situation became untenable for them,” Nichols said.

At first sight, it may seem like the Suns are losers in this trade.

But in hindsight, they got rid of a disgruntled star and increased the depth of the roster.

Moreover, it’s not as if the Suns will have a problem scoring at will in the 2023-24 season.

They have Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal to take care of that department.

As for defense, Nurkic will be the primary center for the Suns next season.


Last season, Nurkic put up 13.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, but fans should expect his scoring output to go down.

But on a positive note, Nurkic can focus on being an elite defender for the Suns throughout the season.

The only downside to trading for Nurkic is his health issues over the past few seasons.

In fact, Nurkic hasn’t played more than 56 games in the last four seasons.

If he fails to stay healthy throughout the season, it will hinder the Suns’ aspirations of winning the NBA championship.


The post Rachel Nichols Talks Suns’ Status After Blockbuster Trade appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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