Forecasting the MLB GM/Owners Meetings

Today marked the start of the General Manager/Owners Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

Before anyone feels the need to erupt into a tizzy over prospective player movement or rumors, be aware that very little of consequence is decided during the four-day event.

The event serves as more of a pre-planned mixer for owners, general managers, agents, and occasionally players to come together all in the good name of schmoozing and networking. Seminars are held, speeches are given, awards are announced, and the occasional alcoholic beverage is consumed as the proverbial book closes on 2013.

With so much going on, it may come as a surprise that actual work is accomplished despite all the distractions that come with such an event. Well blueprints for future work, nonetheless. Take for example last winter’s massive multi-player deal in which the Miami Marlins peddled off a consortium of high-priced players to the Toronto Blue Jays. While the deal was yet to be consummated by the conclusion of the meetings, the basic framework was put in place and Jose Reyes and company were making relocation plans shortly thereafter.

With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to catch the odd rumor that may materialize into something tangible later this week. Staying abreast of the Twitter roll call, this tweet from David Cameron of Fangraphs.com caught my eye today.

Now this isn’t one of those infamous rumors from “an inside source”, nor is there any mention of talks between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics regarding either player. This is 100 % speculation at it’s finest, but it opens the mind to question whether Billy Beane would dangle his celebrated slugger in search of a starting pitcher.

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Due $10.5 million in each of the final two years of his four-year contract with Oakland, Cespedes is likely to be Oakland’s highest paid player come next season. While his average took an unexpected dip in 2013, his production levels stayed high and the Cuban finished the season with a .240/.294/.442 batting line registering 26 home runs and 82 RBI’s in 135 games played. Entering his prime age-28 season, the demand for his services could bring a plentiful bounty or a coveted starting pitcher.

Now that the Giants have rewarded the statistically declining Tim Lincecum the incredulous amount of $35 million over the next two seasons, and mid-tier starters Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco are setting their sights on contracts in excess of $100 million, the time may be ripe for Billy Beane to explore the trade market.

With Bartolo Colon very much a question mark to return in 2014, due to his advanced age and quest for a multi-year deal, the Athletics may have big shoes to fill for next season. Obtaining a number one starter will be no easy task, and while Max Scherzer may nab the Cy Young award he’s far from a slam dunk to be a candidate to come to Oakland. Expected to receive $12-15 million in his final year of arbitration, Scherzer is set to become a free agent after the 2014 season. Unless a scenario is devised, where Oakland orchestrates an extension the cost for a single season of his employment may not be the most practical of moves. For now the idea, is simply food for thought.

 

Topics: Oakland Athletics, Yoenis Cespedes

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