The winter meetings start on Sunday in San Diego, the four-day affair which brings together all MLB organizations under one roof and tends to stoke the flames of the hot stove.
It’s the first full winter meetings in person since 2019, after COVID-19 limited the 2020 meetings to virtual only and the MLB lockout wiped out the 2021 winter meetings. Those 2019 meetings were also in San Diego, who will have now hosted three winter meetings in the last nine years.
The first of this latest stretch of San Diego winter meetings was in 2014, the first offseason of the Andrew Friedman-led Dodgers front office. That featured a whirlwind of moves for the Dodgers, beginning with Dee Gordon getting traded to the Marlins a day after then-general manager Farhan Zaidi said, “We’re not dangling him. He is our second baseman.”
This year, the Dodgers still have moves to make, likely to add starting pitching, an outfielder, and probably a shortstop, to name a few. That doesn’t mean it will all happen during the winter meetings, but the rumor mill will be working overdrive for the next week or so. At the moment, the Dodgers have 36 players on the 40-man roster.
Sunday is arrival day at the winter meetings for some, though there will still be news. The Contemporary Baseball Era will meet on Sunday and decide which, if any, of a group of eight candidates will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fred McGriff, who was a Dodger for his injury-plagued age-39 season in 2003, is among the Cooperstown hopefuls.
MLB also held back a few awards and honors to be announced at the winter meetings. On Monday (5 p.m. PT), the All-MLB teams will be announced. Eight Dodgers were among the nominees — Tyler Anderson, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Tony Gonsolin, Evan Phillips, Will Smith, Trea Turner, and Julio Urías.
On Tuesday (8 a.m. PT), relievers of the year will be unveiled, with the National League award named for Trevor Hoffman and American League honors named after Mariano Rivera.
Later Tuesday night (5:30 p.m. PT), the first-ever MLB Draft lottery will be held, to determine the order of the first 18 picks in the 2023 draft. Draft order is no longer solely determined by record, even for teams that made the playoffs, so rather than pick 30th after winning 111 games, the Dodgers’ first-round selection is slotted at No. 26 overall, for having the best record among the four teams that lost a Division Series.
In addition to the hullabaloo surrounding major league teams — the rumors, the designated media availability of managers and front offices — the winter meetings also serve as a seminal event for minor league teams, and ways for prospective job seekers to find their way into the sport at any level.
The final day of the winter meetings, Wednesday, is usually getaway day for most. But it’s also the date of the Rule 5 Draft (2 p.m. PT), which will have a major league portion for the first time since 2020. Among the Dodgers prospects who could be plucked by another team are outfielder Jose Ramos and first baseman/outfielder Ryan Noda.
The Rule 5 Draft is ordered by record, such that the Dodgers pick 30th.