The MLB Winter Meetings will look a little different this year as they will operate as a virtual event starting this Monday, Dec. 7th. Originally scheduled to be held in Dallas, Texas, the meetings were moved to a virtual setting this past week.
All 30 Major League organizations also have some serious decisions to make by today as well, as they have until 6 p.m. ET to decide what they would do with their 40-man rosters.
What are the MLB Winter Meetings?
Since 1927, the MLB Winter Meetings have been held between Major League Baseball teams and their minor league affiliates to discuss league business and conduct off-season trades and transactions. Attendees include both Major and Minor League Team employees and others interested in either playing baseball, following the game or looking for jobs within the minor leagues.
Why Do The MLB Winter Meetings Matter?
Last season Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg all signed deals during the MLB Winter Meetings and this season we could see the same. Trevor Bauer is one of the many high profile free agents on the market looking for a deal.
We know that Francisco Lindor is a top trade candidate for the Cleveland Indians as is Nolan Arenado for the Colorado Rockies. Arenado makes sense for the Los Angeles Dodgers as he is from California and is an upgrade from free agent Justin Turner.
Blake Snell is equally tantalizing prospect for teams. The Tampa Bay Rays need to cut payroll and Snell would be a possibility. The 2018 Cy Young Award Winner had a 3.24 ERA in 11 regular-season starts in 2020 before putting together an ERA of 3.03 in 29.2 postseason innings.
Does Snell hold any grudge against Rays manager Kevin Cash for the way he was managed in the World Series? Not likely and now that Charlie Morton is gone, the Rays need Snell so if he gets moved the Rays should stand to get a lot in return.
The Rule 5 Draft At the MLB Winter Meetings
The Rule 5 Draft also takes place on Dec. 10. of this year’s MLB Winter Meetings. It allows clubs without a full 40-man roster to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Clubs draft in reverse order of the standings from the previous season.
A $100,000 fee is given to the prospects club who drafted him by the team that wants him. If that player doesn’t stay on the MLB roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.
With over 1,800 players eligible this year, there is a boatload of talent out there that could become available.
There were seven players on Major League Baseball Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list who needed to be protected or become exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.
On top of that list is Forrest Whitley, a Houston Astros pitching prospect who was taken 17th overall in the 2016 draft. A five-pitch and highly rated pitcher, he made it to Double-A out of high school before being marred by injuries and a suspension for a PED violation.
Whitley led the Arizona Fall League in strikeouts for the second straight season in 2019. He would be an ideal prospect for a team looking for pitching at a price that is reasonable. Whitley is a risk as he does not have a lot of Major League Baseball seasoning to this point.
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