By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
6:19 PM EST, November 11, 2013
This year’s Major League Baseball general managers and owners meetings open today in Orlando, Fla., where the industry comes together to discuss the game and set the foundation for the offseason and next month’s MLB winter meetings, which are also in Orlando this year.
You won’t see much in terms of signings and trades at these meetings, however. It’s more of the feeling-out process for the winter meetings, which are Dec. 9-12. General managers will gauge free-agent targets and potential trade suitors.
"We’ve been talking to teams and agents here to find out where we can strengthen our ballclub, and we will continue to do that over the next several days," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Monday evening. "We’ve already started meeting with other teams and agents. Hopefully we can find out who we match up with as far as other teams and players."
Today's 5 p.m. deadline came and went for free agents who have received qualifying offers to either accept or reject the one-year, $14.1-million tenders their 2013 club has offered.
While the Orioles didn’t make qualifying offers to any of their free agents, it will affect them and how they pursue free agents. Players who have declined qualifying offers -- like right-handed pitcher Ervin Santana, designated hitter Kendrys Morales and first baseman Mike Napoli -- become free agents but they're a little pricier because their former teams would get a compensational draft pick from the signing team.
Last offseason, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette wasn’t interested in a free agent who would require a draft pick, but earlier this month, he said he’d consider it on a case-by-case basis this offseason.
Still, it would seem to take a lot. Duquette is committed to building the Orioles through player development -- another reason why we shouldn’t expect a high-profile, big-money free-agent signing -- so draft picks are more valuable to the Orioles than they would be to other teams. And while the Orioles’ minor league system has made significant strides over the past year, continuing to build is critical.
Also at this week’s meetings, owners are scheduled to discuss a variety of topics that impact the game, including expanded instant replay and the Japanese posting system.
Expanded instant replay was tested last week in Arizona Fall League games and seemed to do well, but there is debate on how much to expand replay. That discussion also will take place this week.
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