Live from the Winter Meetings

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon with some excellent hair styling. - USA Today Sports

A day-by-day account of the Winter Meetings in sunny, 80 degree Orlando, Florida.

Hello, hello ladies and gentleman. I'm coming live from Orlando, Florida at the 2014 Winter Meetings at the beautiful (and expensive) Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotels. I arrived in Orlando at 5 AM Sunday morning, got two hours of sleep, and then was back at it, soaking up as much information as I possibly could.

This year, the Winter Meetings are a bit anti-climactic with the majority of the big name free agent signings happening before the meetings even began. I have had the privilege to speak with multiple well-known sources in the industry including the ever-gracious Peter Gammons, Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, Tom Verducci (who I mistook for Tim Kurkjian on accident), and Tracy Ringolsby. Unfortunately, I was not able to sneak any nuggets of information away from them but I have made one very astute observation.

There is A TON of Japanese media at the Winter Meetings. I'm talking at least 15-20 media members that I have seen in the last 5 hours. This can only mean two things; either Mr. Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by the Ratuken Golden Eagles and he will be a member of Major League Baseball by Opening Day, or the other ballyhooed NPB pitcher Kenta Maeda will be posted. With the new rules set in place, any major league team that has interest in a Japanese player will have to pay a maximum of $20M to negotiate with either Tanaka or Maeda then the player will decide which team is the best fit.

This may not have a great deal in common with MiLB, but technically, Tanaka and Maeda will be rookies when they make the trip across the Pacific Ocean. Tanaka is widely seen as a current, not potential, #2 starter in the majors while Maeda is seen more as a back of the rotation option with his lack of velocity (tops out at 92-93). Due to the recent changes in the posting system, expect Tanaka to reach a record deal for a Japanese player because the posting fee is capped at $20M now.

In other news, I have been attending the PBEO Job Fair while I'm down here in Orlando. If you have not heard of this and you want a future in the business of professional baseball, this is an absolute must. In the span of 8 hours I heard from numerous front office officials from both the Major and Minor Leagues. There are about 350-400 people attending the job fair and they have posted almost 400 openings from grounds keeping to group ticket sales to being the mascot. About 70% of the available positions are internships with minimal pay and long hours, but if you know in your heart that you want your life to revolve around the game of baseball, this is the place to be. I cannot stress to you enough that this where you need to be for such things. Add in the extensive networking possibilities and you are damn-near guaranteed to land a job with a minor league team.

If anyone has any questions they would like answered by people in the know, leave a comment and if I can track down either a member of the organization or one of the esteemed writers in attendance, I will be sure to pass along your questions.

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