A good Monday evening from central Florida, where baseball’s Winter Meetings have kicked into high gear. The Swan and Dolphin resort in Lake Buena Vista, not far from Disney World, is the center of the baseball universe through Wednesday. I’m here to look for a job, but that won’t stop me from moseying around the resort, trying to take in all that I can in this short time.
The Winter Meetings double as a job fair. We all know that players, agents and club executives are all present for negotiations, but the jobs available aren’t restricted to the ones on the field. I spent this past season working for Baseball Info Solutions, a company that converts every single pitch from every single game of a full season into data and numbers that can be used to evaluate pitchers in new ways. Now, as I look to move forward in my career, I’m talking with clubs and teams and their representation at the Major/Minor League job fair. It isn’t glorious, and few posted jobs are for immediate work at the Major League level, but it’s already a rewarding experience.
Across the way, in the second half of the two-hotel resort, there’s even more activity. The MLB Network, MLB.com and ESPN have all set up shop for live, on-site broadcasting, delivering news when it happens from where it happens. Not only that, the sight of reporters, players, agents, managers and broadcasters is constant. Charlie Manuel made an appearance, as did White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, superagent Scott Boras, national and Phillies reporters like Ken Rosenthal and Todd Zolecki.
I’ve yet to see Cliff Lee, sadly.
There is a palpable sense of excitement all throughout the resort area. Maybe it was just me soaking in every aspect of the scene that I could, but there’s a feeling in the air not unlike the one you get when you go to your seat at an actual ballgame. The pace is frenetic, and the news is constant. Even better, nearly everyone is accessible. In the course of one day, I managed to shake hands with everyone from Giants manager Bruce Bochy to former Philly and current broadcaster Mitch Williams to ESPN columnist Keith Law (who, by the way, I should be having a conversation with for PN this week. More on that another time). The entire baseball world is here, and it’s awesome.
The coming days should, hopefully, yield even better things. I’ll be tweeting as I go, but I won’t be there to break news; I’ll leave that to the professionals. There may not be much Phillies news to break this year, at least in relation to recent offseasons (unless, of course, you consider Jeff Francoeur newsworthy), but there will still be plenty of exciting things to come, and I hope to share them with you all.
UPDATE, 8:48 pm (Pat Gallen): Mike DiGiovana of the LA Times is reporting the Phillies have interest in trading for Juan Rivera of the Angels. With LAA serious about Carl Crawford joining an already deep outfield, the 32-year old could be on his way out, and at a friendly price to the Phillies.
Rivera hit 15 home runs and knocked in 55 runs a year ago in only 124 games (455 plate appearances). Two seasons ago he was a major power source for the Angels, hitting 25 home runs. He’s in the final year of a three year deal which will pay the outfielder $5.5 million. It’s expected the Angels would pick up some of that salary making him another decent platoon option.
They’ve already shown plenty of interest in Jeff Francouer (perhaps too much) and have been linked to Matt Diaz.