Reprinted from December 25, 2013.
So far, it has been an entertaining offseason in baseball littered with surprising trades and free agents landing lucrative deals thanks to the influx of new TV money across MLB. However, there tends to be less deals consummated during the holidays and (never say never, but) we’re not likely to see a major transaction go down on Christmas. That doesn’t mean that the business of baseball magically comes to a screeching halt, however. Agents and executives are still sending texts and making calls as they enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve with their families.
“When I’ve had a free agent negotiation in progress, I can recall times that I have been talking to a GM in the back of my in-laws house while he was at the back of his in-laws house,” said agent Joe Longo of Paragon Sports International, a firm that represents Mike Napoli, Sergio Santos, and other notable big leaguers.
“We all have families and we’re all trying to celebrate the holidays but sometimes you just have to get an update on a free agent when there are four or five teams you’re talking to. Luckily, my family is really understanding. My wife gets it.”
For Giants Vice President Bobby Evans, there’s “never a complete shutdown” on business and he told MLBTR last week that his front office will continue to be active through the holiday season.
“There are still quite a few guys out there so I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some activity. Some of it can be put to the side and kept quieter until after the day of Christmas or the New Year but there’s still goint to be activity, there are just too many options out there,” Evans said, while noting that, in his case, the Giants have already taken care of most of their Christmas shopping list and will instead focus on minor league pickups from this point forward.
While everyone acknowledges that the holidays are a slower time, agent Burton Rocks says that he finds that the stretch between Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be a springboard for future activity. Deals that have stalled, he notes, can be rekindled by reaching out to an executive and wishing them happy holidays.
Meanwhile, one prominent agent says he’ll be focusing on negotiations for his arbitration-eligible clients during the holidays. Of course, he acknowledges that it’s still possible for something to come out of left field for one of his free agents before the ball drops. Things may be a bit quieter during the holidays, but every agent and GM will be keeping their phones handy during their downtime.