December 2014

Putting a wrap on the Winter Meetings

Outside the Hilton hotel in San Diego

Outside the Hilton hotel in San Diego

What a week. Having been to the past four Winter Meetings in Dallas, Nashville, Orlando and now San Diego – the people of SD get an A+ and I would rank it at the top of the list. The 70 degree weather each day has a lot to do with that, but just about every aspect of the meetings was done in a first class manner. So, here is a cliffs notes recap of week and some takeaways from the week in SD.

This setup was a bit different in the fact that the MLB and MiLB sides were separated for the most part. The MLB hotel was the Hyatt and the MiLB hotel was the Hilton. It was about a 10 minute walk from the Hilton to the Hyatt and did that a couple of times. IMG_20141209_185312_881[1]

For me, the meetings this year were spent doing a lot of networking, sitting in on seminars and for the first time, searching for a #2 broadcaster. You do all this while keeping a close eye on breaking news, trades and what not.

I had always been by the job fair. Peaked in. But, for the first time I had an active posting for a position in which I was doing interviews. The Jackson Generals Media Relations and Broadcast internship received over 200 applications in three days. It was overwhelming, but beneficial getting to meet many up-and-coming broadcasters. We also had other listings that Generals’ Manager or Promotions and Merchandise Nick Hall did interviews regarding. He was featured in this article in the San Diego Tribune on Wednesday.

Baseball Takeaways

The Mariners did not make a deal during the Winter Meetings, but did pick up left-hander David Rollins with the 12th pick of the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft. Speaking of Rule 5, I was a bit surprised the Mariners did not lose anyone – especially in the AAA portion. OF Jordy Lara, RHP Jordan Pries, RHP Stephen Landazuri, OF Leon Landry and RHP Jochi Ogando were some or the top notable candidates, but they are still Mariners. The M’s still appear to be interested in adding a right-fielder, but don’t seem to be in a big rush.

Lots of deals where made Wednesday and Thursday including a few deals involving former Southern Leaguers. 2014 Jacksonville Suns’ Anthony DeSclafani was in the Latos deal, while Andrew Heaney, Austin Barnes, and Chris Hatcher along with Enrique Hernandez were traded to the Angels for Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and Miguel Rojas. Former Tennessee Smokies’ Andrew McKirahan was selected in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft by the Marlins, while catcher Luis Flores (Astros), outfielder Brett Jackson (Giants) and infielder Nate Samson (Dodgers) were picked in the Triple-A portion. Jackson played in the 2011 Southern League All-Star game in Jackson.

The Royals signed former Mariner Kendrys Morales to a two year, $17 million deal which is a bit remarkable.

Will they or won’t they go?

Taijuan Walker

Taijuan Walker

So, a question still remains whether or not the Mariners will include a prospect or four in a deal to upgrade RF or potentially SS (Ian Desmond). The Mariners have made it a point to hold onto these top prospects. One story that did break during the week was one in which the Mariners might be souring on Taijuan Walker. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik denied those rumors adamantly. If anything, their could be some frustrations with minor health issues, but he is still a cornerstone prospect. Danny Hultzen news seems quite optimistic which is fantastic.

The shortstops, Chris Taylor and Brad Miller seem to be as of right now the guys for 2014. If the M’s don’t land a RF via free agency or trade, expect to see Miller getting some reps in the OF during spring training. He’s got the makeup to do it and he would rank behind Taylor slightly on defense.

Overall, I think the prospects stay put with the Mariners. That means a blockbuster deal will go down tomorrow sending six of them somewhere.

Kivlehan love (of course)

I had several conversations with M’s personnel on Tuesday night about Patrick Kivlehan and he certainly has upped his stock since his impressive AFL. Will he get a shot to make the MLB roster in spring training? Highly doubtful. But, he and Peterson starting at AAA in ’15 will give the opportunity to move up during the year.

IMG_20141209_194623_875[1]Mariners Reception
Speaking of Mariners personnel, the annual affiliates reception on Tuesday night was fantastic. It was on the pool deck of the Hyatt and dark, but fortunately nobody fell in pool. Although I did come close once. (but was due to my clumsiness and not alcohol) The Mariners organization is pure class from top to bottom. That isn’t lip service, it has been that way for all six of my years in Jackson. Whether you are the Double-A broadcaster or a rich executive, they treat you the same. That’s a terrible picture, but you get the idea.

Gala

Gala at PETCO Park

It was incredible. There was live Reindeer, a snow hill in centerfield and ALL YOU COULD EAT FOOD. The picture can’t really descibe the awesomeness of the scene. I actually ate my meal between first and second base on the dirt. So, watching games there next year that will be all I will think about. The Winter Wonderland setup was nice and it ranks above the Gala experience at The Ballpark at Arlington in 2011. On the field you had executive after executive wandering about the field at PETCO Park enjoying all-your-can eat food. There was even a small snow covered hill (yes, real snow) in centerfield that you could intertube down.