Greetings from rainy San Diego, where the Baseball Winter Meetings will begin in earnest Monday morning.
Baseball executives, writers, and representatives from adjacent industries trickled into the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel on Sunday, including a heavy contingent from the D.C. and Baltimore areas on the same direct flight from BWI Marshall Airport.
There are plenty of issues facing the Washington Nationals and the sport as a whole this week, so here’s what we’ve got our eye on as the next few days unfold.
Strasburg and Rendon
With World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg opting out of the final four years of his extension, he joined Anthony Rendon as a top free agent on this year’s market.
Despite the fact that the two combined made more than $57 million last year, and despite a nearly $100 million windfall in the MASN decision (not to mention the World Series profits), the Nationals have said plainly that they “really can only afford to have one of those two guys” for the future.
That means at least one of the two is likely to be playing in another uniform next season. Might we find out which uniform this week?
There’s been speculation that Rendon might not wait out the market, and that the Dodgers might be involved. While it seems unlikely that Strasburg’s hometown San Diego Padres are going to make an effort to sign him, one Southern California team could still stake claim to these Winter Meetings.
Minor league contraction
MLB’s plan to contract 42 minor league clubs has drawn the ire of both Minor League Baseball and Congress, as 106 representatives signed a letter to the Commissioner’s office and a task force was formed to stop it from moving forward.
That all leads into this week’s meetings, which will see a delegation from MiLB attempt to find a more reasonable path forward. A resolution this week is unlikely, but with all of professional baseball on hand, we’ll see what progress is made.
Odds & Ends
There is plenty more to the Winter Meetings than just trade rumors and free agent signings.
We’ll be bringing you stories from around the circus that is the sport’s premier offseason event over the next few days.