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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rays and Mets most worth watching at MLB GM meetings this week-Ken Davidoff

11/9/13, "An inside look at what happens at MLB’s GM meetings," Ken Davidoff, NY Post

"Q. Is there typically much action?

A. Not relative to the Winter Meetings, which will be Dec. 9-12 at a different Orlando hotel. The baseball offseason proceeds at a deliberate pace. A significant moment will occur Monday afternoon, when the deadline arrives for the 13 free agents who received one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers. Bet on all 13 — including Yankees Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda — to reject the offer and remain free agents.

It isn’t unprecedented for some big moves to occur. The Phillies acquired Brad Lidge from the Astros at the 2007 meetings. The year prior, the Blue Jays signed free agent Frank Thomas. Yet it’s more likely that a high-level transaction will occur later this winter and the involved parties will refer to a meeting from this week as a critical step to getting a deal done.

Q. What team is most worth monitoring?

A. The Rays. There’s an industry-wide expectation they will look to trade ace David Price, who has two years of team control left before he can enter free agency and who is getting very expensive. Tampa Bay has consistently received great returns when dealing from their starting pitching depth — think Will Shields to Kansas City last year and Matt Garza to the Cubs three years ago. Texas and the Cubs are two clubs viewed as strong candidates to get Price.

Q. What agent is most worth monitoring?

A. Brodie Van Wagenen. He represents Robinson Cano — no, Jay Z is not expected to show up — and Cano’s market outside the Yankees remains a public mystery, even as he is the widely acknowledged top free agent on the market.

Q. How different will these meetings be for the Mets, compared to recent years?

A. Dramatically so. With Sandy Alderson beginning his fourth year as the team’s GM, he’s in position to make some serious expenditures for the first time. Look for Alderson and his lieutenants to focus on position players, with Granderson and shortstop Jhonny Peralta two possibilities.

Q. Forget about the Hot Stove stuff for a minute. Will there be any movement on the plan to institute a challenge-based instant replay system for 2014?

A. There figures to be much discussion of it, especially since the system went out for a test run these last couple of weeks in the Arizona Fall League — MLB officials came away pleased. But since the Players Association and World Umpires Association have yet to sign off on this, it’s unlikely the owners will ratify it this week. That probably will occur when the owners meet again in January.

Q. What about other such issues?

A. ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported that GMs want to talk about eliminating home-plate collisions. There also will be an update on the negotiations surrounding the posting process, which have not yet been finalized. Rakuten Golden Eagles stud pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, a top Yankees target, isn’t going anywhere until that happens.

Q. What role will Alex Rodriguez play at these meetings?

A. Though A-Rod sadly will not be present, his presence always is felt. The Yankees’ discussions with agents and other clubs will be impacted by the uncertainty over whether they’ll have Rodriguez and his $25 million salary (plus a $6 million bonus if he hits six home runs) for 2014. And Selig surely will field some questions about A-Rod — from the media, for sure, and perhaps even from other club owners curious about the immense attention the saga has generated."

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