As of yesterday, baseball executives and MLBPA agents had crawled up into the Ritz and glitz of Las Vegas, but this trip is not to enjoy the blackjack tables, luxurious pool decks, and clubs that stay open all hours of the night. The agents and executives are in Vegas for one of the most important baseball events of the year, the Winter Meetings. Everyone will be “vacationing” in Vegas until Thursday, with many deals going down before that point-in-time. Before the meetings officially kicked off, there was word of signing talks. Of the twenty-four players offered arbitration prior to the deadline, only two accepted (David Weathers and Darren Oliver). You better believe that the other twenty-two players and their agents are on hand in Las Vegas, talking to a variety of GMs and front-office execs.
One guy getting everything comped is the head of Boras Corp., Mr. Scott Boras. Equipped with an army of aids and a plethora of statistical sheets by his side, he is looking to find over fifteen free-agent clients jobs this offseason. Derek Lowe believes in Mr. Boras. But the week is not all about Boras and his legion of clients. If you are an MLBPA certified agent (meaning you have at least one player on a 40-man roster), it is likely that you have headed to Sin City to partake in the festivities. The man with the most talked about free-agent player, C.C. Sabathia, is Greg Genske of Legacy Sports Group. Brad Penny and Pat Burrell are among the other free-agents that Genske is shopping over at the Bellagio. There has also been a lot of talk about two free-agents managed by the same agent. Raphael Furcal and Fransisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) are represented by Paul Kinzer. And as I said, this group makes up a very small portion of the players and agents in attendance.
But the Winter Meetings actually have a purpose besides allowing agents and GMs to meet up to discuss potential deals. In fact, the original purpose was for it to serve as a yearly meeting for baseball execs to discuss the state of the sport amongst themselves. One topic for concern this year is the slumping state of the economy. Minor League teams are especially worried about taking a hit in sponsorship dollars. I hope that we do not see the economy torment Minor League baseball like it has done to some “minor leagues” in other sports.
Anyway, soon enough, Dynasty will have the chance to show face at the Winter Meetings. I am told by many agent friends that I should be thankful that I do not have to be a participant yet. Apparently all agents dread this time of the year. Drink some coffee and get some rest my boys!