ORLANDO, Fla. — MLB's General Manager Meetings get started here on Monday and finish up on Wednesday. It's the unofficial start of the hot stove season.
There are actual meetings for the GMs to attend. They discuss rules, procedures and such things as the use of replay and limiting collisions at home plate. But they also use the opportunity to discuss trades and meet with agents.
What's coming up this week:
Monday: Those free agents who were tendered qualifying offers by their teams have until 5 p.m. to accept or decline. In the case of Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli, all three are expected to decline.
They can continue negotiating with the Red Sox. But if they were to sign with another team, the Sox would receive a supplemental first round draft pick.
Also, the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards will be announced.
Tuesday: The Manager of the Year awards will be announced. Should be good news for John Farrell.
Wednesday: The Cy Young Award for each league is announced.
Thursday: The MVPs awards for each league are announced.
As for what the Red Sox might do, Ken Rosenthal made some great points in a column about this time of the year.
The Red Sox need a center fielder, catcher, first baseman and shortstop. So obviously they have interest in players who play those positions and will contact their agents. It's not really news that they are interested in a player. Frankly, Ben Cherington and his staff would be derelict in their duties if they didn't contact agents of prominent players.
It's also pretty obvious that the agent for a prominent player would say his client has interest in the Red Sox. The Red Sox are a high-payroll team in a major market that just won the World Series. What player wouldn't be interested?
Carl Crawford didn't want to come to Boston and he still did. Players invariably sign with teams that offer the best contract and the Red Sox are capable of offering major contracts.
Chapter One in the agent playbook is to say a free-agent would love to play in New York, Los Angeles, Boston or Chicago whether it's true or not. That creates a buzz.
Let's remember, too, that the Red Sox won the World Series by making prudent decisions about mid-level free agents. The will likely stay with that strategy, not abandon it.
It's still early to predict what will happen. Usually one or two signings spark the market and dominoes quickly fall.
But it's fair to think that Ellsbury will find a team willing to pay him more than the Red Sox. It also makes sense that with Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero around, the Red Sox won't give Drew the three-year deal he could get elsewhere.
Keeping Napoli makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons and he's very comfortable with the Sox. He strikes me like somebody who values being comfortable and would prefer not being with his third team in three years.
The catching situation is intriguing. The Sox seem to have soured on Jarrod Saltalamacchia and he on them. But that relationship could still be repaired. If not, Brian McCann could be an attractive addition as would Carlos Ruiz.
So let the second season start. Stay tuned to Extra Bases for all the news.