LAS VEGAS -- The winter meetings are a wrap. I generally always say the hotel is a ghost town come late Thursday afternoon, but it's Vegas and this place is never such a thing. Still, when it comes to baseball personnel, this place is cleared out. Everyone who matters is either literally or figuratively checked out. It's over.
With the dust settled, I can't help but feel disappointed.
Major League Baseball sent out a press release Thursday with the winter meetings transactions.
The biggest move was the Phillies Andrew McCutchen. We saw a between the Mariners, Rays and Indians transpire on Thursday. There were Charlie Morton and J.A. Happ deals. There was an Ivan Nova . Jordy Mercer signed! The lone signing press conference was Nathan Eovaldi.
Anyone else yawning? Good lord, I'm in Vegas. Give me some intrigue.
On Tuesday, my CBS Sports HQ colleague Jim Bowden floated to me the idea of a winter trade deadline. The sentiment has started to spread and there's a legitimate buzz. Just ask Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and baseball agent Rafa Nieves.
Dave Dombrowski said he wants to see the rules changed so that there is an offseason deadline. Thinks people naturally work toward deadlines— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 12, 2018
Dombrowski cont’d: “They need to change the rules or something, where there’s some downtime. Every other sport has it other than ours. And it goes longer and longer. Maybe some agents feel they can wear people out. Because they do have downtime."— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 13, 2018
We should have a December trade deadline.— Rafa Nieves (@mlb_agent) December 12, 2018
November: GM Meetings— Rafa Nieves (@mlb_agent) December 12, 2018
December: Trade Meetings
January: Winter Meetings
Some think a deadline wouldn't add much and the real issue is technology. Teams used to need the meetings talk face to face. Now they can do that every day of the year. Still, Dombrowski isn't alone. I've heard from multiple front office folks that a deadline would be great.
The idea here is that the last day of the winter meetings would be a trade deadline. It's always a Thursday, and the Rule 5 draft is held in the morning. As previously noted, after the Rule 5, it's pretty much dead. So let's say the deadline is set Thursday at noon local time for wherever the meetings are located and then teams can't trade again until some point in spring training.
Such a deadline would absolutely make the MLB's key offseason event a lot more exciting. Things like the Dodgers and Reds would either be completed or fall apart in time for the teams to turn elsewhere. It would actually help free agency, too, because once teams can't trade anymore, the only remaining option to shore up holes would be free agency.between the
This is legitimately something to consider. It's been six-and-a-half weeks since we got to watch baseball. It'll be until the middle of February that pitchers and catchers report and then another six weeks after that until we see meaningful baseball. We just sat through four days of the vaunted winter meetings and very little meaningful action actually happened.
Instead, the winter meetings turned out to be mostly a colossal bore.
Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned. J.T. Realmuto hasn't been traded. The Indians haven't dealt either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. The following free-agent relievers remain on the market: Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, Cody Allen, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson. Same with the likes of A.J. Pollock, Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Nelson Cruz ... sigh. It would be easier to just list everyone who has actually signed.
The MLB offseason is slogging on, again, and is in need of a solution. We need some days off, as Dombrowski noted, so we can yell at each other about the Hall of Fame. A winter trade deadline does the trick. Bowden thinks it's the case. Many others I asked agree. Let's do this, please, MLB, because your offseason is broken.