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MLB Winter Meetings

By Trevor McKey –

Major League Baseball is a wonderfully long 162 game marathon starting in April and ending in September culminating in the Fall Classic. At the conclusion of the World Series, most baseball aficionados not celebrating their championship see the end of one season as the start of another, baseball player acquisitions and awards. With many rules and terms to catch up on, this mini season among fans and General Managers can really provide the momentum to ring in the New Year and start Spring Training on the right foot while celebrating a season that was. Please see CBS’ key MLB offseason dates for a full list of the intricacies of MLB’s offseason baseball schedule. Some offseason vocabulary to keep in mind include:  contract options (club and player), qualifying offer, free agency, non-tender/tender deadline, pre-arbitration or arbitration eligibility, Rule 5 Draft, and international signings. In terms of awards, there is Manager of the Year, Most Valuable Player, CY Young, Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove Winners, and Hall of Fame Inductees

Winter Meetings

Every year all 30 MLB teams and 160 minor league affiliates meet for four days in December to discuss league business and conduct off-season trades and acquisitions. These include team owners, general managers, team scouts, players’ agents, lawyers and accountants, press corps and visitors from baseball-playing countries. The Winter Meetings date back to the inaugural 1876 season when William Hulbert was selected as baseball’s first league president and both New York Mutuals and Philadelphia Athletics were expelled for not playing all of their assigned games. Since then, the Winter Meetings have been hosted in various cities with many notable deals to impact the MLB. Here are a few:

  • 1975 Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck sat at a table in the lobby behind a sign that said “Open for Business”. Veeck would negotiate six trades involving 22 players leading to a 64-97 record.
  • 1988 Winter Meetings Texas Rangers closed three trades involving 15 players and signed free agent pitcher Nolan Ryan.
  • 1990 Blockbuster deal involving Toronto Blue Jays sending Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to San Diego Padres for eventual first ballot Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.
  • 1992 San Francisco Giants sign Barry Bonds to a 6-year $43 million deal in his prime.
  • 2000 Alex Rodriguez 10-year $252 million deal with Texas Rangers
  • 2011 Albert Pujols 10-year $250 million deal with Los Angeles Angels
  • 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers in a 24 hour period signed 19 players and a free agent involving 6 transactions and 4 teams.
  • 2015 Chicago Cubs sign Jon Lester to 6-year $155 million deal topping Red Sox, Giants, and Dodgers

Due to COVID-19, the Winter Meeting this year were virtual. While this year has tempered expectations, deals or the lack thereof have made teams better or worse. Next year the Winter Meetings will be hosted in Nashville, Tennessee and in 2022 they will be hosted in San Diego, California. Here is a list of the cities who hosted the Winter Meetings the past 20 years:

  • 2000 – Dallas
  • 2001 – Boston
  • 2002 – Nashville
  • 2003 – New Orleans
  • 2004 – Anaheim
  • 2005 – Dallas
  • 2006 – Bay Lake
  • 2007 – Nashville
  • 2008 – Paradise
  • 2009 – Indianapolis
  • 2010 – Bay Lake
  • 2011 – Dallas
  • 2012 – Nashville
  • 2013 – Bay Lake
  • 2014 – San Diego
  • 2015 – Nashville
  • 2016 – National Harbor
  • 2017 – Bay Lake
  • 2018 – Paradise
  • 2019 – San Diego
  • 2020 – Virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Baseball Trade Show

Nokona’s role during the Winter Meetings involves being part of the Baseball Trade Show with 300 vendors of baseball equipment, services, and promotions taking place concurrently with the Winter Meetings. Over the course of these three days, the Baseball Trade Show is pivotal for companies looking to interact with and gain valuable face-to-face time with professional baseball executives. This provides an opportunity for representatives to browse the latest baseball-related products on the market and make purchases for player apparel and equipment, retail merchandise, promotional items, marketing services, entertainment, stadium needs and much more.

Other Winter Meeting Events

In addition to the Winter Meetings and Baseball Trade Show, there is also a Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair, King of Baseball awarded to minor league veteran at a Winter Meetings Banquet, and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America conducts its annual meeting. During this time, the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting is announced, as well as the recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing. In addition to the awards, The Baseball Writers’ Association of America conducts the Veterans Committee to see if any long retired or non-playing personnel qualify for the Hall of Fame.

2020 MLB Winter Awards

Manager of the Year: 

NL – Don Mattingly (Marlins)

AL – Kevin Cash (Rays)

Most Valuable Player Award:

NL – Freddie Freeman (Braves)

AL – José Abreu (White Sox)

CY Young Award:

NL – Trevor Bauer (Reds)

AL – Shane Bieber (Indians)

Rookie of the Year Award:

NL – Devin Williams (Brewers)

AL – Kyle Lewis (Mariners)

Hall of Fame Inductees:

For only the 9th time and the first since 2013, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America has chosen no new inductees to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The requirement to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is to reach 75% of all ballots cast. Because COVID-19 canceled last year’s induction ceremony, Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons will be honored on July 27th, 2021 at Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, New York.

In a year that is better to be forgotten, Spring Training’s start on February 27th, as well as April 1st with Opening Day can NOT get here soon enough. Here is a full schedule.

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