The GM meetings, for all intents and purposes, begin tomorrow night in Orlando. (I think technically the actual meetings start on Tuesday but most people are getting into town tomorrow.) Chad will be on the scene for us and doing his best to unearth all the news, rumors and Hot Stove speculation.
So what can you expect?
• Some actual meetings: This year baseball has smushed the GM meetings and the owners’ meetings back-to-back, so there will be a lot of talk from everyone about the impending collective bargaining negotiation that is looming after the 2011 season. There is always some discussion about rules changes; you can bet instant replay will come up (again) for discussion.
• Plenty of hot air: Obviously there’s plenty of conversation amongst the various GMs outside of the formal sessions, and that’s where the Hot Stove gossip emerges. Informal meetings, sit-downs between agents and teams and even casual conversations between executives can start a firestorm of Tweets, blog posts and reports on potential deals. Much of it doesn’t amount to much but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to follow.
• Legitimate groundwork: There is, on occasion, a genuine transaction or two that’s completed at the GM meetings (a minor trade or a free agent signing with his former team, typically) but despite the high percentage of undeveloped activity that doesn’t mean real foundations aren’t laid. A most recent example came last year: The Yankees and Tigers got together at the GM meetings and had preliminary talks that led to the Curtis Granderson trade just a few weeks later at the Winter Meetings.
Along those lines, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of action from the Yankees this week. At the very least, Cliff Lee’s agent, Darek Braunecker, will be at the meetings so you can bet Brian Cashman will be looking for a second sit-down with him.