General Manager Meetings kick off

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The General Managers meetings begin today at the Hyatt Grand Championship Resort in Indian Wells, Calif. The gathering will last through the end of the end of the weeks. While not as widely publicized as the Winter Meetings (which feature much more media coverage and much greater organization attendance), the GM Meetings can be a critical point in the offseason.

All 30 team GMs, as well as assistant GMs and agents, will be in the same place for three days, allowing for groundwork to begin being laid for potential deals. Many of those trades/signings won’t happen this week; but it’s not all that uncommon to find out that a deal done later  in the winter had its beginnings at the GM meetings.

There’s a different wrinkle this year, too, as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has created quicker resolution of offseason contract issues. That could result in the Hot Stove season picking up earlier than usual, too.

For instance, under the old Type A/Type B free agent compensation system, clubs had until December to make those players an arbitration offer. That meant that other teams eyeing such free agents didn’t know this early if they’d have to sacrifice a Draft pick to sign one of them. Now, that unknown is gone.

Replacing that system is one in which clubs have the opportunity to make a qualifying offer (this year a one-year, $13.3 million deal) to players leaving as free agents. Only players who have been made qualifying offers will cost another team a Draft pick if signed.

The deadline to do so was last Friday, and only nine players received the qualifying offer. In other words, it’s already clear to teams which players they’d have to forfeit a Draft selection for in order to sign. There is no more waiting around until December for that to all become known.

Here is MLB.com’s preview story leading into the GM Meetings. Also, know that MLB.com has several reporters on the ground in Indian Wells, and one is designated to assist with Cardinals coverage from the Hyatt. If there is anything newsworthy regarding the team, you’ll find a story on cardinals.com.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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