Posted Under: Johanna's View
This week, the transactions wire has been filled with a ton of moves- very few of them will be noticed by many fans. But with Friday being the deadline to tender a contract to any arbitration eligible players, many players had to move. Just because the White Sox don’t need Philip Humber, doesn’t mean there isn’t another team, say the Astros who picked him up off of waivers don’t. But while Humber was sent out on waivers, there were a lot of small trades, like Zach Stewart going from the Red Sox to the Pirates for a player to be named later.
And the chances are good that that player will come via the rule V draft which will happen on Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. The Rule V draft happens each year to allow players stuck at AAA with 4 years of service time since they turned 19 to move to a new club, where they might be able to make it onto the major league roster. That keeps one team from hoarding quality players, and give other players a route to the big money. Teams spent the week prior to Thanksgiving setting their Major League rosters, moving younger player on to their 40-man roster and removing those that they didn’t feel they needed for the future to make room. Teams with less than 40 on their 40-man roster probably expect to do some acquiring at the meetings. Of course, they can do that by signing free agents, making trades or drafting through the Rule V any player with 4 years of service time at the minor league level not on a 40-man roster.
Now remember, anyone drafted through the Major League phase must remain with the Major League club for the entire season next year- or they have to be sent back to the team that gave them up. When a team selects a player though, the team must give the club $500,000 for that guy, which will be returned should the player be returned.
But the Winter Meetings are more than just the Rule V draft. Teams and agents meet with clothing and equipment companies to get their players gear for the upcoming season. Sometimes that stuff comes free, sometimes it just comes at a reduced cost. All that depends on the player.
There is also the Minor League Baseball Job Fair. Hundreds of young people (and some not so young) come to the meetings to try to get a job working in baseball. So those who need to hire come to the meetings to try to find the talent they need.
And while all this is going on, Major League Baseball is holding meetings for Media Relations directors, Trainers and Clubhouse managers, Communications Directors, Scouts, Player Personnel Directors and others to share some new League policies and best practices. And there are luncheons and dinners to honor organizations, and organizations who take their minor league affiliates to dinner.
And every now and then you see one guy from an organization cross the lobby to find another guy from another organization to get a sort of word on the street about a player. What is he like in the clubhouse? Where does the team that holds him rank him among guys at his position? What would it take to give him up? That sort of thing.
Mostly what people see is the scouts catching up after not seeing each other for awhile. Its a little like a high school reunion for many, even though it seems baseball is a small world.
So I will be down there next week and hopefully finding some new ways to bring you insight into the meetings. I sometimes work with teams to coach their players on dealing with the media, so I meet with teams. This year I am also working with students to help them get ahead at the job fair, so it should be a busy week. But look for me on twitter, and keep up with me here.