The Red Sox are still basking in the glory of their World Series championship, and while Dave Dombrowski receives dozens of congratulatory handshakes when he arrives at the General Managers Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif., this week's event means it's time to get to work on 2019.
Unlike the Winter Meetings, which will take place Dec. 10-13 in Las Vegas, this week's meetings serve as an appetizer of sorts, giving executives an opportunity to begin shaping their offseason plans.
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Here's a primer of what to look for during the GM Meetings, which formally begin Tuesday and conclude on Thursday.
How much will Bryce and Manny get?
Neither Manny Machado nor Bryce Harper will receive the answer to this at the GM Meetings, but the respective agents for both superstars -- Dan Lozano for Machado, Scott Boras for Harper -- will be in Carlsbad to meet with teams about the two most celebrated free agents in years. For that matter, most agents representing the 125-plus free agents will be on site, trying to grab some time with GMs before, between and after their formal meetings.
Machado and Harper aren't the only marquee free agents out there this offseason, of course. Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Nathan Eovaldi and A.J. Pollock and the rest of the class should have some idea of the dollars that will be out there and, maybe more important, a sense of how quickly or slowly the market may move.
Will Realmuto be traded?
J.T. Realmuto watched the Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon last offseason, leaving him one of the only holdovers as Miami embarked on a rebuild.
The Marlins have let it be known they want to sign Realmuto to an extension to be a part of the club's long-term future, but based on comments made by his agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, the catcher appears to want out -- and soon.
"I think he will definitely be wearing a different uniform by the start of Spring Training," Berry told MLB Network Radio last week.
If he's thrust into the trade market, there will be no shortage of teams interested in Realmuto, who will be entering his age-28 season in 2019. The National League's starting All-Star catcher last summer, Realmuto hit .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs in 125 games.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals have been linked to Realmuto on a number of occasions, though more teams would surely emerge as suitors if the Marlins let it be known that he is available.
Less than one week after being formally introduced as the Mets' new general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen will head to Southern California to take part in his first GM Meetings. It won't be his first time attending the meetings, but in the past, it's been in the role of an agent trying to land deals for clients.
This week will mark his first time on the other side of the table as Van Wagenen will surely meet with agents to gauge how the Mets may approach the free-agent market. He'll also have an opportunity to sit with his fellow GMs as a peer for the first time, potentially talking trades rather than negotiating free-agent deals with them.
While the Mets will be represented by their new GM, two teams will not have theirs present -- because they still don't have GMs. The Giants and Orioles are still conducting their respective searches, leaving executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean to represent San Francisco, and player development director Brian Graham and director of baseball operations Tripp Norton to do the same for Baltimore.
Realmuto isn't the only player that will draw trade interest this offseason, so the GM Meetings serve as a good starting point for executives to exchange ideas with each other.
Names will be bandied about all week; some who are on the block, others who couldn't be had for every prospect in your Top 10. That's the beauty of the offseason; there's no such thing as a stupid question. You never know if a player is available unless you ask.
Among the players that could be discussed are Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Jose Abreu, Madison Bumgarner, Billy Hamilton, Francisco Cervelli, Justin Smoak, Nicholas Castellanos, Matt Kemp and Zack Wheeler. What do all of those players have in common? They have one year of club control remaining before they become free agents next offseason.
Setting the pace
Unlike the Winter Meetings, where free agency and trades take center stage, the actual purpose of the GM Meetings is for the executives to meet and discuss a number of issues around the game.
Pace of play figures to be chief among them yet again, while instant replay and other issues -- including in-game technology, sign stealing, salary arbitration. social media and international player acquisitions -- are likely to be discussed.