Starting this Wednesday, all of Major League Baseball’s general managers will convene in Indian Wells, California for the first assembly of the offseason.
This meeting is primarily for the agents and GM’s to discuss business, put out their feelers, see what kind of networking they can do. In other words, this is the starting pistol for Hot Stove season.
One has to wonder what Dave Dombrowski must be thinking heading into this gathering. As Tigers fans, we’ve experienced the early striking of the DD era; how oftentimes the Tigers are one of the first teams to get something done when the season is over. One also has to keep in mind that Mike Illitch probably gave Dombrowski a blank check and a wink.
So what could be done initially? Who would be great to talk to at this point?
Agents – Now is a great time for Dombrowski to shake a few hands and plant a few seeds. Agents don’t seem to be hammering out deals at these early meetings, unless the contract is a jaw-dropper. Now is the time to discuss things like desired length of the deal, salary ambitions, and the success and future of a potential team. I’d imagine that Dombrowski would like to strike up a chat with Alan Nero (Angel Pagan‘s agent), Larry Reynolds (Torii Hunter‘s and BJ Upton’s agent), or John Boggs (Shane Victorino‘s agent, who also happens to represent Quintin Berry). He might also try to corner the representative for Mato Sports Management (Anibal Sanchez‘s agency), or just keep Ned Colletti at a distance.
General Managers – There are definitely several GM’s that Dombrowski should sidle up to. The biggest reach would be Cleveland Indians GM Chris Antonetti. Dealing with a divisional rival in trades talks always seems to end up rather pricey, but the Indians are rumored to be on the verge of a rebuild. If that’s the case, players like Shin-Soo Choo, Chris Perez, or Asdrubal Cabrera might be worth asking about, seeing as how either would be upgrades (Cabrera’s not quite an upgrade defensively, but he has better range…so probably not worth the asking price).
Tampa Bay’s Andrew Friedman could be a good trade partner, seeing as how he has had several former Tigers on his roster. Friedman knows he as to unload some pitching, and knows he could use a bat or two. Or anything, really – this fellow loves making deals, and the Rays have multiple pieces the Tigers could use.
The last gentleman that poses an interesting match is Houston GM Jeff Luhnow. With their impending move to the American League, and a proven willingness to deal any member of his team, the Astros present an unique opportunity. They desperately need any warm body that can swing a bat or hurl a baseball reasonably well, and the Tigers seem to have those types lined up. What would (could) Houston give up to get Andy Oliver, Brennan Boesch, or any of Detroit’s extra pieces?
Other GM’s to keep in mind are Boston’s Ben Cherington, Arizona’s Kevin Towers, Chicago’s Jed Hoyer, and Baltimore’s Dan Duquette.
With some luck Dombrowski can get some good discussions going, and hopefully get a ball or two rolling.