Final Thoughts on the Winter Meetings

After a full week of reporting the happenings of Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings I resolve to finally put this subject to bed. Before I do, I wanted to add a few final thoughts from this year’s meetings.

With the exception of ”The Trade” this year’s Winter Meetings were fairly uneventful. There were a few minor deals but overall the meetings were relatively quiet.

That is not to say that they were unsuccessful. If years past have taught us anything it is that the Winter Meetings are a place where discussions begin more than where they end. Over the next several weeks teams will continue to talk and more than a few deals will likely be consummated.

Similar to last year, the free agent market seems to be moving fairly slowly. Teams are taking a wait and see attitude hoping to be able to pick up a good player at a bargain price. This is especially true with regards to position players. There are still an abundance of talent available and if this continues it will definitely be a buyer’s market allowing teams to find help as late as the beginning of Spring Training.

Pitching continues to be a hot commodity and this season teams appear to be more willing to commit to longer deals or higher prices than they were in the 2008 off-season. This fact probably drove the Arizona Diamondbacks more than any other to make the trade they did for a starting pitcher.

Perhaps one of the more interesting announcements that came out of the Winter Meetings had nothing to do with the product on the field. ESPN baseball correspondent Peter Gammons announced that following the Winter Meetings he would be leaving the network.

Gammons is well respected in the industry and it was a shock to hear he was leaving especially giving only a few days notice. The announcement was rather cryptic when issued but shortly thereafter the story broke that Gammons was moving to the MLB Network.

The addition of Peter Gammons to the already burgeoning talent pool of the MLB Network should be exciting for baseball fans. Over the past year I find myself watching more of the MLB Network but still flipping over to ESPN to get Gammons take on a particular subject.

Having him move to the MLB Network will most likely mean I will watch a lot less ESPN especially during baseball season. It will be interesting to see how he is incorporated into the MLB fold.

Not everything was positive for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the meetings. Although they added two starters through a trade and a reliever through the Rule V Draft; Arizona did lose a player.

The Cleveland Indians selected Diamondbacks pitcher Hector Ambriz with the fifth choice in the Major League portion of the draft. Ambriz out of UCLA was drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 Amateur Draft.

He pitched for the Reno Aces last season working 127.2 innings over 22 starts. While not an overpowering pitcher, Ambriz has very good control and works efficiently. At only 25 it was thought he would compete in Spring Training for a possible long relief role or spot starter.

Arizona seems to be taking on a sense of urgency trying to win now rather than continue to build for the future. That would explain not protecting Ambriz as well as dealing Max Scherzer who was under club control for the next five years.

It will be interesting to see whether the Diamondbacks coaching staff can instill that urgency into the players during Spring Training. Arizona cannot afford to start slowly and get too far behind. Should that happen expect a lot of changes during the 2010 season and beyond.

Overall the Diamondbacks are making progress and addressing the team’s needs. The next six weeks will be critical to see whether they are able to continue with the momentum they captured at the Winter Meetings to fill the holes they have on their current roster.

1 Comment

  1. Terry Miencier

    I am not sure if the D’backs sense of urgency is to “win now” or the uncertainy, in the recovery, of Branden Webbs’ shoulder injury.

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