CARLSBAD, California .– The ghost of a lockout when the Major Baseball collective agreement expires on December 1 has not really changed anything tonight at GM’s meetings this week.
“I’m not on the negotiating team, so these are the usual things for us,” said New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
“These are the usual things,” repeated Cleveland Native American thinker Chris Antonetti. Credit the same quote to, among others, Jerry DiPoto of the Seattle Mariners, James Click of the Houston Astros and Rick Hahn of the Chicago White Sox.
“It’s the same thing we say every year,” said Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer.
Despite an offseason that looks different from the rest since Major Baseball’s last work stoppage in 1994-95, the GM meetings went as planned in Southern California.
Baseball executives attended presentations by league officials on the progress of experiments with minor league rules, then a presentation from the Players Alliance, including former players CC Sabathia and Curtis Granderson, on how to help diversity work, and they laid the groundwork for agreements that could be made later in winter.
Only four staff movements were made during the two days of the meeting. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed a contract with pitcher Andrew Heaney, Yankees-repatriated pitcher Joely Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Ray’s released pitcher Adam Conley and pitcher Drew Carlton were demoted to AAA by the Tigers from Detroit.
It is clear that CEO meetings are not usually the place where agreements are made.
“You try to connect with people and try to get as much information as possible early in the process,” Cashman said.
The Yankees are looking for a shortstop, and there are five big names in the free agent market – Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Javier Baez and Marcus Semien. Cashman said he had met with representatives of most of them and would take care of the others soon.
“You never hear anyone say they do not want to come to New York,” Cashman said.
Unless you are a member of the Mets. Team president Sandy Alderson left Wednesday night as the club is still looking for a general manager.
Many applicants did not get permission from their team to be interviewed, and others refused simply because they thrive, personally or professionally, where they are. Alderson explained that most of the hesitation was due to the New York market.
“It’s a big stage and some people just prefer to be somewhere else,” he said on Tuesday.
The most crucial meetings took place without the CEOs. The leaders of the league and the players’ association negotiated on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it seems that an agreement is not close.
The next stop on the baseball calendar is the owners’ meeting in Chicago next week. Then there will be the deadline of November 19 to add players to the 40-player lists and protect them from the winter draft. Winter meetings are still scheduled for December 6 in Orlando, Florida, but they are threatened without a new collective agreement in place.
As they say, these are the usual things, at least until they are no longer.
“They will obviously come to an agreement at some point,” Cashman said. We will find common ground. They always did that before, most of the time. At some point, I’m optimistic that they will do it again. Otherwise, I’m just doing my job. “