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MLB free agency: Everything to know about the GM Meetings

Jeter can ya hear me?

Chicago Cubs Victory Celebration Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Say it with me now, “No sleep till, baaaam, baaaam, baaaaam, baseball!”. This week, all 30 general managers across Major League Baseball will meet in sunny Orlando for their yearly gathering. While this shindig doesn’t carry the water of next month’s Winter Meetings, it will set the foundation of what’s to come in mid-December. Here’s what you should know about the GM meetings happening this week:


It will be a free-agent frenzy:

So get ready for a lot of buzz around some of your favorite players. While the meeting is meant specifically for general managers, agents will be out in full force making moves for their clients. Think Scott Boras trying to swing that $200M deal for his client J.D. Martinez. Don’t worry about missing a signing just yet—that’s what the excitement of the Winter Meetings is for. The GM meetings are teams’ first opportunity to feel out the market and see who is going to try to contend next year, who is still rebuilding, and who is on the hunt for exactly what this winter.

The Qualifying Offer deadline hits:

Last Monday, nine players were extended qualifying offers by their respected teams. (If you’re a little lost on this whole process, check out our QO primer here). The deadline to accept or decline the qualifying offer is this Thursday, November 16th, at 5pm EST. The players who reject their QO (a 1-year, $17.4 million offer) will immediately be tied to draft-pick compensation. All nine players are expected to decline the QO this year.

Non-Stove Issues:

While player terms and contracts are certainly on the table, the GMs will also discuss a variety of other baseball operations related issues. This year, pace of play, posting-system negotiations, and the use of instant replay and technology will all be on the docket. Considering instant replay was so prevalent during the World Series, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes precedent over the other issues. In my humble opinion, pace of play is easily solved by a Clayton Kershaw / Dallas Keuchel match up, like, every single game. Expect to hear a lot from Joe Torre and Rob Manfred on this.

The elephant-sized Jeter in the room:

Coinciding with the GM meetings will also be the MLB owners’ meetings, with the first formal appearance of Derek Jeter as Marlins owner. Trade talks involving Giancarlo Stanton is one of the major storylines this winter, so there will certainly be talk on how the new Marlins administration will handle talks with interested clubs. We’ll also be given a taste of how Jeter could handle team matters going forward.

The baseballverse will also be introduced to Alex Anthopoulos as the Braves’ new GM. Anthopoulos previously held that post with the Blue Jays from 2009-2015.

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There’s a lot to be done before the Winter Meetings take over Disney World in a month, but most of the legwork is fleshing out who is a really a buyer, who is clutching their checkbook, and who is just a stove stoker. Once these general managers and baseball personnel ascend upon Orlando this week, we’ll have more of a clue as to what to expect as the off-season rolls on.

Don’t expect major moves from Orlando this week, but don’t discount the importance of the GM Meetings. Lots of groundwork for future winter moves will be laid in the coming days, with clubs getting a feel for how agents and other clubs perceive the value of their available players. The fun is just getting started.