NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Welcome to the Winter Meetings, baseball's ultimate version of controlled chaos.
From Monday until some time after the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday afternoon, virtually every Major League front office member, manager, agent, PR person, baseball writer and broadcaster -- and even some free agents themselves -- will make the ritzy, 400,000-plus-square-foot Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center their home.
There's a reason for that.
This annual early-December gathering is usually an eventful one. Look no further than last year's version, when the Marlins made the early splash, signing Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, and the Angels provided the finishing touches, coming away with both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson on the morning of the final day.
This winter's event doesn't figure to be as eventful for Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto (it's simply not possible). But he'll enter with a laser-sharp focus on free-agent pitching, trying to stay in the race for Zack Greinke while keeping a clear eye out for alternatives for his rotation and bullpen.
In an ideal world, he'd sign a starting pitcher by Friday. It's a realistic expectation, because the Winter Meetings provide an unrivaled avenue for offseason productivity.
"It's a great event, where you get to be face-to-face with everybody else in the industry, both Major and Minor Leagues," Dipoto said. "Every player representative in the game is going to be present, and you can sit down face-to-face; there's going to be a variety of players that are on hand at various intervals through the Meetings that you might be able to sit down and have a conversation with. Any time you can meet face-to-face, it's always an advantage over telephone or e-mail."
Dipoto will meet with the press every day, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia will have his first formal media session of the offseason at 12:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Look for stories on that -- as well as any signings the Angels make, or trades they're involved in, or rumors they're connected to -- on Angels.com and MLB.com's Hot Stove Blog. MLB.com's multimedia department will also be providing unique content.
Championships may not be won in December -- just look at the two most productive teams at last year's Winter Meetings -- but progress sure can be made.
The Angels are coming off quite the productive week, signing Ryan Madson to potentially be their closer and trading for former Braves starter Tommy Hanson. But they need at least one more starting pitcher and could use at least one more reliever.
The priority, of course, is to bring back Greinke, who, along with Josh Hamilton, will be the focal point of this year's Winter Meetings. But if Greinke's price tag gets to $150 million, they'll shift their focus to the likes of Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster and Brandon McCarthy.
If nothing else, missing out on Greinke can allow Dipoto to be even more aggressive in the bullpen. Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, who met with the Angels and came away impressed, is off the board, reportedly signing a two-year deal with the Cubs. But the likes of Mike Adams, Joakim Soria, Koji Uehara and the recently non-tendered Brian Wilson are still options.
What should the Angels' GM do?
Comment below with your thoughts. And if there's something you'd like to see addressed, make it known.