CARLSBAD, Calif. – A looming lockout at the expiration of baseball's collective bargaining agreement Dec. 1 didn't change much at the general manager's meetings this week.
“I’m not part of the negotiating team, so I mean, business as usual for us,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
"Business as usual," Indians baseball boss Chris Antonetti echoed. Credit the same quote to Seattle's Jerry DiPoto, Houston's James Click and Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn, among others.
“Same thing we say every year," the Cubs' Jed Hoyer said.
Despite an offseason that figures to be different than any since baseball's last labor stoppage in 1994-95, the GM meetings went on as planned in Southern California.
Heads of baseball operations departments sat for presentations from league officials on the progress of rules experiments in the minor leagues, were pitched by Players Alliance reps — including former players CC Sabathia and Curtis Granderson — on ways to help diversity efforts, and laid the groundwork for deals that might be struck later this winter.
Agents roamed the premise as usual, too. Scott Boras said he was meeting with teams until 3 a.m. most nights, and of course, he came ready with his usual quips for his scrum with reporters. Given that next month's winter meetings may be impacted by a lockout, this might have been his only chance for a high-profile news conference.
Just four roster moves were made during the two-day meetings — the Dodgers finalized a deal for left-hander Andrew Heaney, the Yankees brought back lefty Joely Rodríguez, the Rays released lefty Adam Conley and righty Drew Carlton was assigned outright to Triple-A by Detroit.
Of course, the GM meetings aren't usually where deals are finished.
“It’s the same,” Cashman said. “You try to connect, try to get as much information usually at the beginning of the process.”
The Yankees are searching for a shortstop, and there are five big ones on the open market — Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Javier Báez and Marcus Semien. Cashman said he's met with reps for most of them and will soon get to the rest.
”I don’t think anybody ever tells me at the outset, you never hear, ‘I don’t want to come to New York,'" Cashman said.
Unless, it seems if you're the Mets. Team President Sandy Alderson departed Wednesday night with the club still mired in a search for a head of baseball operations.
Several candidates have been unable to get permission from their current teams to interview, and others have declined because they are too comfortable personally or professionally where they are. Alderson claimed most of the hesitation has been due to the New York market.
“It’s a big stage and some people would just prefer to be elsewhere," he said Tuesday.
The most crucial meetings happened without the GMs. League and union officials bargained Tuesday and Wednesday, and indications are a deal is not anywhere close.
Next up on the baseball calendar is the owners' meetings in Chicago next week. After that, the Nov. 19 deadline to add players to 40-man rosters and protect them from the winter meeting draft. The winter meetings are still slated for Dec. 6 in Orlando, Florida, but those are in jeopardy without a new CBA in place.
Business as usual, as they say, at least until its not.
“They'll obviously come to a resolution at some point,” Cashman said. "We'll find commond ground. They've always done it in the past, mostly. So at some point, optimistic they'll do that again. Otherwise, I just do what I gotta do.”
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