It’s decision day on a few Dodger players, most notably Russell Martin, and Ned Colletti just told Jim Hill in an interview that this is one of the toughest decisions he’s had to face since he came to the Dodgers. We’ll know by 9 p.m. PT tonight at the latest what that decision is and hopefully that will provide a little more clarity on the catching situation.
Ned just finished a 20-minute interview with Jim Hill and they covered a ton of topics. It will air in part tonight on KCAL/KCBS as well as throughout the week. Among the things they talked about were Don Mattingly and his staff; Matt Kemp (who recently reached out to Ned and had a great phone conversation that is among the reasons Ned says he feels like this will be a big year for Matt); the starting rotation and the farm system.
There’s definitely a buzz in the offices and one among fans we’re speaking with on a daily basis. It feels a little weird to have so much already set in stone before we head to Orlando for the Winter Meetings on Sunday, but I’ll certainly take that over a four-day set of meetings where we come in with a ton of needs.
What Do Traveling Secretaries Do At The Winter Meetings?
If you did not know, the Winter Meetings are not just about trades, free agents, GMs, team meetings, and news conferences. There is actually a whole lot more from medical meetings with physicians and trainers, job seekers/interviews, a huge baseball goods trade show, club publicity meetings, and also a host of activities for the traveling secretaries. In essence, everything that is baseball happens here. For my counterparts and I, it’s meeting-after-meeting and reception-after-reception.
Here is a brief look at our agenda:
Sunday night – All-Traveling Secretaries dinner hosted by MLB
Monday morning/afternoon – Marriott Luncheon and Traveling Secretary of the Year Presentation
Monday afternoon – All-Traveling Secretaries Meeting
Monday pre-dinner – Enterprise Rental Car Reception
Monday pre-dinner – Four Seasons Reception
Monday evening – Ritz-Carlton Reception
Tuesday morning/afternoon – Traveling Secretaries Trade Show (Air charter providers, hotels, bus companies, rental car companies, travel agents, etc.)
Tuesday pre-dinner – Parc 55/Westin San Francisco Reception
Tuesday pre-dinner – Hilton Reception
Tuesday dinner – Dodgers Minor League Affiliates Reception
Tuesday evening – Starwood Worldwide Reception
Coupled with that, the traveling secretaries are the point people for our own staff’s travel and hotel accomodations. In truth, it was a little more complicated here in Indianapolis due to the cold weather and snow.
On Wednesday, I spent virtually the entire day in my hotel room working. I had missed some time in the office recently and I tried to play catch-up with all of my work. In a few hours, I will be boarding a plane back to Los Angeles while keeping tabs on our staff’s travel out of Indianapolis back to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Newark, Baltimore, Tampa, and San Diego.
Traveling secretaries meet a lot of people during these meetings and we collect a lot of business cards. It’s a chance for us to say thank you to those vendors who have helped us over the years and also an opportunity to make new contacts to help our respective teams. The meetings are enjoyable yet hectic and I look forward to them every year.
Sidebar: Ellen Harrigan is our Winter Meetings MVP because she keeps all of our team events and meetings organized/on-time — she is a huge help to all of us and did a great job of putting together our minor league affiliates reception on Tuesday night. She is our Director of Baseball Administration and has spent time with Baltimore and Toronto with over 20+ years of baseball experience.
— Scott Akasaki
The meetings come to a close today and the news out of Indy is that the Nationals took Jamie Hoffmann in the Rule Five draft. Ned told the media today that he’d be comfortable with a healthy Jason Repko as the fourth or fifth outfielder and I know there are a lot of Repko fans in LA, myself included. He’s a great kid with a lot of talent and hopefully he’ll be healthy in 2010.
Back in Los Angeles today, Matt Kemp and Ramon Troncoso are attending our holiday party for local underserved youth, which is a tradition that goes back about a quarter century. I’m bummed to be missing it, as it’s always a very cool thing to see these kids’ faces light up when they might not otherwise get to experience the holidays in this fashion.
My next post will be back when I get to Los Angeles but I wouldn’t worry too much that no moves got made at the meetings. I know how much everyone loves to see their team make moves at this time of year, but in general, it was pretty quiet for many teams. But, a lot of groundwork gets laid here and acted upon in the coming weeks. The important thing to remember, as far as I’m concerned, is that we’re not re-creating a whole team. We’re trying to add a pitcher or two and perhaps a second baseman and we’ll be right back to where we were last season – competing for the division title and hopefully, taking the next step to advance past the NLCS and into the World Series. And as you recall, the second baseman and pitcher that we’re trying to replace were signed in February/March last year, so there’s still plenty of time before the Opening Day roster will be complete.
Touched down in Indianapolis last night with the baseball operations core and for the next few days, this town will be the center of the baseball world. Lots of agents wandering the halls, baseball execs in their suites, PR types in their league-wide meetings and rumors flying every which way. It’s an exciting time to be a fan during these few days, but it’s safe to say that you have to be a little more careful what you believe during these few days that usual. Every imaginable scenario is discussed between teams and before you know it, the Yankees have traded A-Rod to the Pirates for Ryan Doumit. Or something like that.
The last few years, the winter meetings have been in relatively warm places but this year, there’s snow on the ground outside and it is downright freezing out there. I’m guessing the people from the Twins, Yankees, and the rest of those teams aren’t nearly as cold as us West Coasters.
And, I just got an email confirming that Whitey Herzog and Doug Harvey were elected to the Hall of Fame. Tough pill to swallow for those who remember the ’85 LCS, but congrats to both.
I hope to post more info throughout the week here in Indiana.
It’s been a rather busy first day here at the Winter Meetings. The day started with the news that unfortunately, no Dodgers made it into the Hall of Fame through the Veteran’s ballot (which means no Hodges, Wills, Torre, etc.)
We began the morning in meetings with all of the league’s PR people and learned about the MLB Network (which launches Jan. 1), among a number of other topics. I took a break to bring Ned Colletti down to the news conference where Greg Maddux announced his retirement. Ned has known Greg since he was a rookie and really wanted to be there to congratulate him, which he was able to do, as was I. He is a classy man who has had one heck of a career and we are all very fortunate that we got to witness him pitch (and in a Dodger uniform, no less).
I headed back to meetings for the better part of the day, while Ned wound up chatting with media at the news conference and all of the CC stuff came out early in the day.
We had a cocktail reception where it was announced that our good friend from the White Sox, Scott Reifert, won the Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence, a very deserving award. Our congrats go out to him on what has been a very accomplished career thus far.
We then took our media upstairs for their final news briefing of the day with Ned, so the latest rounds of stories should be online soon. I’m not even going to try to keep up with all the stories being filed – it’s simply impossible around here. But, hopefully we’ll be able to lock down some things here in the coming days.
There’s plenty more that I don’t really have time to get into, unfortunately, as we’re taking a group of the media out for a dinner here at the hotel.
Keep checking back each day – I hope to at least post something every evening from Vegas.