The annual MLB Winter Meetings begin this weekend and the Seattle Mariners will arrive with some work to do. But what should you, the fans, be tuned into? Let’s discuss it.
The Winter Meetings used to be the pinnacle of the MLB off-season where all 30 front offices, including the Mariners, agents, and players gathered in the same general area to work out trades and sign free agents. But for the past few years, that hasn’t really been the case.
Sure, every year there are a few signings during the 4-day event and trade here and there, but now most of these things are done before or long after the Winter Meetings conclude. Still, this is the best chance to get one on one time with agents of free agents you want to sign and also gather as much intel as possible, so there is value to this event. Just not a lot of fun for the fans.
But Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has promised a quieter off-season and the team has already done quite a bit, just not in the way of exciting moves. They have signed Kendall Graveman as a lottery ticket #4 starter, a career 4A infielders. traded away Omar Narvaez for a package that includes an RHP and a draft pick, traded pocket change for Nestor Cortes Jr. and made a few waiver additions.
They also non-tendered Tim Beckham and Domingo Santana, leaving their 40 man roster at 37. So while this is actually a lot of movement, we haven’t seen the “blockbuster” move… and you probably won’t. So if they aren’t there to acquire big league stars, what is left to do?
Dipoto himself has come out and said that he expects to have a relatively calms Winter Meetings, but did say the Mariners will look to add another starting pitcher and at least 1 more bullpen arm. One or both of these could be accomplished in the next week, but the market was just flooded with quality arms at the non-tender deadline, so smart money may be on a delayed market.
On the trade front, fans should expect a relatively quiet week, but don’t be surprised to see some mention of Mitch Haniger and perhaps Mallex Smith. A Haniger deal is still unlikely, but with all the decision-makers in the same place, plenty of ideas will be shared, which could knock something loose.
The best chance for fans to see an addition to the Mariners 40-man roster will be during the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on the last day of the winter meetings. Seattle will hold the 6th pick in that event and based on Dipoto’s history and the 3 open roster spots, bet on Seattle to make a selection.
The MLB Winter Meetings are being held in San Diego this year, beginning on Sunday, December 8th and finishing with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday the 12th.