To this point, the MLB off-season has been quiet: no major trades or signings quite yet, only questions. Where will the Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton? What does Shohei Otani actually want? Will J.D. Martinez, dubbed the King Kong of Slug by Scott Boras, really make as much money as his agent expects?

Chances are we’ll start getting some answers to those questions and others next week, when the GM Meetings take place in Orlando, Fla. All 30 general managers will be in one place to discuss the state of the game and, to borrow a phrase that’ll be repeated often over the next seven days, ‘lay the groundwork’ for potential deals.

With that in mind, here’s a look ahead at what to expect…
What’s the difference between the GM Meetings and the Winter Meetings?

There’s understandably some confusion between the GM Meetings, which take place as winter approaches, and the Winter Meetings, which are attended by every GM. Let’s start there.

Relatively speaking, the GM Meetings operate on a small scale. Top baseball operations executives gather in one place and spend the day discussing on- and off-field issues. For example, they might debate the merits of moving the trade deadline back or discuss ways to regulate international signings. Afterwards, the execs can discuss potential moves with one another or the many agents who make the trip.

The Winter Meetings, meanwhile, are a TV-ready event on an entirely different scale. This time it’s about deal-making, not attending to league business. Everyone from trainers to scouts to analysts attend, and even then we’re just getting started. You’ve also got equipment companies, minor-league teams and scores upon scores of job seekers.

The setting changes, too. Where executives gather in hotel boardrooms at the GM Meetings, they spend much of their time in team suites at the Winter Meetings, preferring privacy to the chaos of the hotel lobby. By comparison the GM Meetings are peaceful.