The days of roaming a hotel lobby in search of baseball executives are on hold temporarily, much like many other things in 2020.
Baseball's winter meetings will be held virtually this year, with the coronavirus pandemic preventing thousands of baseball industry executives, scouts, reporters and job seekers from mingling in the bar of a Dallas hotel next month. Instead, the game's key convention will be relegated to a series of socially distant teleconferences from Dec. 7-10.
But that doesn't mean winter meetings will lack the action of years past. Trades will still be made and free agents will be signed. And even if few deals are made, the framework will be laid for transactions in the coming weeks.
Here is a look at some of the top storylines in baseball to predict some moves that could shake up the offseason. It's been an unpredictable year so why not try and speculate about an unpredictable offseason?
Here are eight predictions for the 2020 winter meetings and beyond.
Trevor Bauer Will Sign with the Mets
Trevor Bauer, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, is in need of a new home and the New York Mets are in need of a big arm. Bauer became a free agent this winter when he rejected the Cincinnati Reds' $18.9 million qualifying offer. Although he left the door open for a return, Bauer and his agent, Rachel Luba, seem to have an interest in testing the market. Luba’s Instagram stories have frequently featured fans making pitches for Bauer to go to their team.
The Mets were able to secure a key piece of their rotation when Marcus Stroman accepted a qualifying offer. and they rarely make big moves for key free agents, but it’s a different era in Queens these days. No longer forced to shop in the bargain bin, lifelong fan and new owner Steven Cohen is looking to turn the Amazins’ into contenders right away. Bauer would help do that, teaming with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Stroman to create a dominant rotation. His personality and his pitching seem perfect for a big market like New York, and he already released a YouTube video gushing about Cohen and his management.
Bauer could set the tone for the rest of the offseason. He’s the biggest name on the market, so the dominoes will fall after he signs. But if he doesn’t, then the winter meetings could be pretty uneventful.