Pitching is still number one on the Phillies’ shopping list as the 106th edition of Baseball’s Winter Meetings got underway today.
Pat Gillick huddled with his staff in the club suite in late afternoon to touch base on where the Phillies stand. Gillick assigns his staff to different clubs. For example, Major League Scout Gordon Lakey may have three clubs. He’ll spend time checking with those clubs to see if there is a fit for a trade.
In many cases, pounding the lobby would be part of Lakey’s schedule. The Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel is a sprawling complex spread out over nine acres. There’s one lobby near the registration desk, but not one conducive to lobby sitting.
This place is so large Major League Baseball has set up a program for all GMs in which someone from the hotel staff will take Gillick (for example) to another club’s suite if he has a meeting with a particular club. Otherwise, Gillick would need a compass, a map and roller skates.
Ruben Amaro will spend most of his time conversing with agents. He’s spoken several times last week with the agents for Aaron Rowand and Kyle Lohse. Both are seeking long-term deals.
With the signing of Tori Hunter, the market has been set for centerfielders. Rowand and Andruw Jones will try to ride that wave. Starting pitchers may hold on to see when and if Johan Santana is traded. The team acquiring Santana would attempt to sign him to a multi-year contract at gigantic numbers. Once that happens, the market has then been set.
Gillick will reconvene his staff early in the morning and again in mid afternoon each of the next three days to learn of the latest intelligence.
In response to some comments posted here….
**Most of the hiring at these meetings is on the minor league level, as far as the business side of the game. Occasionally, a major league team might make a hiring on the minor league player development level. Probably a couple hundred young folks will be looking for jobs in the game this week. Starting in the minor leagues is a great way to begin a career.
**I’m sorry, but we didn’t come up with an alternate home uniform to copy the Eagles’ throw-back uniform they wore earlier in the NFL season. Baseball has been ahead of football in this area. Remember, we wore an all-burgundy uniform in 1979, I believe. We lost the game and never saw those uniforms again. Larry Christenson was the starter and loser in that game. “LC” still complains that we asked him to wear the burgundy uniform during the 2003 Veterans Stadium closing ceremonies.
**Chances are the 25 players that will take the field on opening day next year won’t be determined until spring training. A roster this month most likely will change before the March 31 opener.