Baseball GMs meetings open with much to talk about
Expanding the playoffs to include additional wild-card teams is among the topics likely to be discussed when baseball's general managers meetings begin Tuesday morning in Orlando, Fla.
A number of general managers have already gone on record as supporting Commissioner Bud Selig's proposal to set up a wild-card playoff round. The three division winners would receive a first-round bye under the plan, which would add an additional round to the postseason.
This year's meetings have taken on a rare urgency given the fact that baseball's five-year collective bargaining agreement with the players union expires in less than 13 months. As a result, the closed-door meetings are expected to begin laying the groundwork for upcoming negotiations with union leaders. The two-day GM meetings will close Wednesday at about the same time baseball's owners will gather in the same meetings at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Selig reportedly asked the GMs to hold their meetings at the same time and site as the owners to create synergy between the two groups Among other topics that could be discussed here is the implementation of an international draft, which the union would likely fight.
General managers are also dealing with a new timetable regarding negotiations with free agents and the tendering of contract offers to arbitration-eligible players. As a result, there could be more substantive trade talks here than is normal the case this early in the offseason.
-- Kevin Baxter reporting from Orlando, Fla.