Though GMs are flying into Milwaukee today, the GM Meetings will take place in earnest on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today MLB's focus is on the Rookie of the Year awards, which will be announced by the BBWAA at 1pm central time. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith will be reporting from Milwaukee Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are a few potential stories to watch:
- Owners meet on Thursday, at which point the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane is expected to be approved.
- With significant progress last week, a new collective bargaining agreement could be announced at the meetings. The Astros are expected to move to the American League in 2013, creating two 15-team leagues each with three five-team divisions. Two more playoff teams are expected to be added. Changes are also expected in free agent draft pick compensation and perhaps draft spending.
- The Cardinals named Mike Matheny manager yesterday, while the Cubs and Red Sox still have openings. The Cubs are considering Sandy Alomar Jr., Pete Mackanin, Mike Maddux, and Dale Sveum. With a second interview coming this week, Sveum is the frontrunner for Boston's job, though Alomar, Mackanin, Torey Lovullo, and Gene Lamont are also in the mix.
- The Miami Marlins have offers out to Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, and Mark Buehrle. Will any of them sign on the dotted line this week? The Marlins were active at last year's GM Meetings, trading Dan Uggla and signing John Buck. Assuming they're not bringing him back, the White Sox wouldn't mind Buehrle signing before November 23rd, because that would guarantee them a supplemental draft pick.
- Click here to see the remaining free agents. Aside from the Marlins' targets, big names include Prince Fielder, Aramis Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, C.J. Wilson, Edwin Jackson, and Carlos Beltran.
- The Chunichi Dragons are up 2-0 in the Nippon Series over the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. If the series concludes this week, will the Nippon Ham Fighters post Yu Darvish shortly thereafter?
- Look for a couple of trades at the GM Meetings. Last year we had trades involving Uggla and Rajai Davis, as well as the Felipe Paulino–Clint Barmes swap. Paulino and Barmes were non-tender candidates. I've got some tentative candidates in this spreadsheet, but my list will be published this week.
- Last year the Joaquin Benoit contract, signed during the GM Meetings, shook up the market for free agent relievers. Jonathan Papelbon's record deal with the Phillies has done that for the high-end of the market already, but will it have a ripple effect for all decent free agent relievers?
- Six teams have new GMs: the Orioles (Dan Duquette), Red Sox (Ben Cherington), Twins (Terry Ryan), Angels (Jerry Dipoto), Cubs (Jed Hoyer), and Padres (Josh Byrnes). Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is now president of baseball operations for the Cubs. The Dodgers' Ned Colletti and the Astros' Ed Wade are operating under uncertainty with ownership changes on the horizon.