Winter Meetings Preview

Baseball’s winter meetings begin tomorrow and run through Thursday. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., heads a large Phillies entourage at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Pitching–starter and a reliever–are the first two items on his shopping list that also includes a new left fielder and a back-up infielder who can play second and third

Free agency is one way to fill the needs.  Trades are another.  “We’ve had numerous conversations with free agents and clubs,” says Ruben. “We have some meetings with other teams already scheduled.”

Once again, the Phillies will call a suite their office away from home.  Laptop computers filled with scouting reports and stats will be used heavily. Ruben will meet with his group there, sometimes several times a day.  Meetings with other clubs happen in the room or the other club’s suite.

Several members of the Phillies group will be assigned certain major league clubs.  The assignment: make contact with clubs to see if there is a fit for trading.  Generally, the lobby is a Who’s Who of baseball and a great place to network.

Lobby appearances by agents are frequent.  Scott Boras represents something like 15 players and solely controls the free agent market.  Once one or two of his big names sign, the log jam will be broken. Whenever he is spotted in the lobby, the media surrounds him looking for stories.

MLB.com and phillies.com will be filled with stories from Las Vegas.  Should be an interesting week.

The annual Rule 5 draft of minor league players not protected on a major league roster will be held Thursday morning.  The Phillies have a list and are checking it twice.  Chances are slim they will find someone who can help the club next season because they have the 26th selection as of today.  And, they are not in the position to carry a very young prospect as are teams that are building for the future.

Interesting note
Ken Rosenthal, the talented baseball writer for FOXsports.com, wrote the following note on Friday:
“Phillies minor-league shortstop Jason Donald is drawing significant trade interest after posting an .889 OPS at Class AA last season and putting up big numbers in the Arizona Fall League. Donald, 24, is backed up behind Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley, but the Phillies might need Donald to open the season at second with Utley coming off surgery on his right hip”

HOF Announcement
The week of news kicks off tomorrow morning with an announcement by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee. 

Former Phillies who are on the two different ballots include Dick Allen and Jim Kaat (post 1943) and Sherry Magee and Bucky Walters (pre-1943).  Delaware County’s Mickey Vernon is also on the latter ballot.

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