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Dodgers Off-Season: Explaining MLB’s General Manager Meetings

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Nov 7, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman (left) and general manager Farhan Zaidi address the media at a press conference at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The General Manager Meetings, more commonly know as the GM Meetings, take place in November as a way to get ready for the 2020 season. This is the first period of time where we see executives interact and basically ‘feel each other out’ as far as what each team’s goal is for the upcoming season and yes, the pieces that they will look to trade or acquire.

Dan O’Dowd, a former MLB executive, and Brian Kenny of MLB Network joined together to discuss what front office members do during this period:

Future of Baseball

While Dan O’Dowd has not been a member of a front office — has not attended the GM Meetings — in five years, he does recall what happened when he did attend. He stated that a lot of the meetings are centered around the future of the game:

“First of all, league matters are very important. They are talking about issues inside the game of baseball and the future of the game of baseball. It is really the only time of year where the GMs get to weigh in as a group. These meetings are incredibly important to our game.”

The Dodgers do not have an acting general manager, but Andrew Friedman will most likely be in attendance.

Laying Groundwork

The part of the GM Meetings that receive the most fanfare are the trade talks.

“You have done a lot of homework, so you follow up with the clubs you feel you match with and dig a little further into how you match up. Agents also go to GM Meetings so GMs are able to talk to them face-to-face about their clients.”

There is no doubt that Friedman is talking to other executives about trades and agents like Scott Boras about their clients.

Free Agent Delay

After we saw Manny Machado and Bryce Harper take months to sign, we collectively realized that free agency has changed in a big way. O’Dowd weighed in:

“GMs today are so value-driven that they really do not want to overspend on a player if they feel like there is a better deal to be made for a similar player somewhere down the line. So, they try to let the industry unfold a little bit before they go in. I don’t think that is a good strategy, because even if you save the money on the backend, are you really getting the player you really have identified fits your particular need.”

O’Dowd brings up a very interesting point because the Dodgers typically do this in free agency. They wait, they don’t pounce. This could be a different winter for Los Angeles, but we will see.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

3 Comments

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  1. Too bad everyone is so enamored with free agents. Trades are far more exciting, have more room for analyzing the pros and cons and save your team money. Signing a free agent is almost a concession that a team didn’t develop their own player, can’t be creative enough to design a trade and thinks that signing a hired gun will build team chemistry.

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