General managers grabbed their bags, caught a quick lunch and headed down the corridor a short distance to their flights Wednesday after their annual meeting ended in a hotel at O’Hare International Airport.
No trades were announced during the three-day session.
“It’s the same thing every year at this time of year,” White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. “There is nothing to report.”
GMs met with their counterparts and also greeted agents looking to lay the groundwork for free-agent deals after those players can start negotiating money with all teams on Nov. 20. Trade talk likely will percolate heading into the winter meetings in Indianapolis from Dec. 7-10.
There was one internal deal announced Wednesday, as the Seattle Mariners agreed to a one-year contract to keep Ken Griffey Jr.
Washington, meanwhile, decided to stick with Jim Riggleman as manager.
The Nationals will drop Riggleman’s interim tag and make him their manager for 2010, two people in baseball familiar with the team’s plans told The Associated Press. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. The team was planning a news conference for Thursday.
Riggleman was promoted from bench coach to interim manager in July, replacing the fired Manny Acta.
Griffey may be coming back for the 22nd season, but it sure appears Milton Bradley won’t return to the Cubs, even though he has two years and $21 million left on his contract.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry wasn’t specific on whether he discussed moving the mercurial Bradley, who was suspended the final two weeks last season — shortly after he criticized the atmosphere surrounding a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908.
But Hendry did have plenty of general conversations as he tries to get the Cubs back to the playoffs under new ownership.
“I probably talked to seven or eight clubs, just the normal things, just the way I anticipated. You feel like, hopefully, there’s some business to be done in the next few weeks,” Hendry said. “Hopefully, you can do something before you get to Indianapolis. … It was really a good environment after all. A lot of people were in the same spots, and it was easy to find guys to talk to.”
Hendry’s team had the third-highest opening-day payroll last season, topped only by the World Series champion Yankees and the disappointing Mets.
The free-agent pool includes outfielders Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, pitcher John Lackey and infielder-outfielder Chone Figgins. After that, there are few stars in their prime.
“I think this is a free-agent market where there is definitely a drop-off between the premium guys and the second-tier guys,” Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.
Agents Arn Tellem and Scott Boras were also part of the scene at the hotel.
Boras represents Holliday and Johnny Damon, while Tellem negotiates for World Series MVP Hideki Matsui.
Tellem said Matsui’s goal has always been to spend 10 seasons in the major leagues. He just completed his seventh year with the Yankees.
Tellem also represents free-agent Rich Harden, who pitched for the Cubs last year.
“He likes Chicago. We’ll see,” Tellem said. “Just like with Hideki, we’re starting the process.”
Teams also inquired about Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, who has one year left on his contract and was the subject of trade rumors last season.
“Obviously, I’m getting asked,” new Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said. “He’s obviously the best player on the team, he’s one of the best players in the entire game and probably the best player this franchise has ever known. But with respect to trade rumors, speculation, things like that, I’ve told everybody I don’t want to comment at all about any players at all.”
Among the issues discussed during the formal meeting on the final day were ways to curb identity and age problems in the Dominican Republic; the progress of urban academies with a new one scheduled to open in Houston next year and another by 2011 near Miami; the ramifications of taxes on fringe benefits, even World Series rings; improving international relationships with baseball organizations in Japan and South Korea; and potentially restructuring the GM meetings, maybe adding one after the draft.
Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations for the commissioner’s office, said a committee will report to owners on the prospects for an international draft, which would be subject to negotiations with the players’ association.
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.
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