Found November 30, 2012 on Fox Sports:
The baseball offseason is entering its second month, and so far the biggest story has been the Miami Marlins' salary dump. That's about to change. The annual winter meetings begin Monday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., the ideal site for an event headlined by free agents Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton. The elaborate Opryland -- think sprawling biodome with boutique shopping -- was devastated by the 2010 Cumberland River flood that struck Tennessee. The hotel sustained severe damage and was shuttered for six months. It's prospering today. Greinke and Hamilton can identify. Greinke barely pitched in the majors during the 2006 season while being treated for social-anxiety disorder. Hamilton was out of organized baseball for more than three years because of drug and alcohol abuse. Now they are the most coveted players on the open market. The powerful narratives of Greinke and Hamilton, known to virtually all who pass through the Opryland corridors, will impact the meetings in different ways. In all likelihood, Greinke's effect will be more direct. He is viewed within the industry as the best free-agent starting pitcher, which means two things: The Los Angeles Dodgers want him -- they want everybody -- and the other top-tier starters (led by Anibal Sanchez) likely will wait for a resolution to those negotiations. Several days ago, CBSSports.com reported Greinke could sign for as much as six years and $150 million. The Dodgers, amid reports of a possible $6 billion local television rights contract with FOX, have the resources to meet that price tag. The Washington Nationals may be the Dodgers' greatest competition because they have one of the wealthiest ownership groups in baseball and a realistic chance to win the World Series. No matter where Greinke signs, the dollar figure is likely to be huge and maybe even record-setting. So it makes sense for Sanchez -- along with Kyle Lohse, Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson & Co. -- to let Greinke set the market and argue they are worth 60 or 70 or 80 percent of that sum. Sanchez is in a particularly strong position, with multiple executives telling FOXSports.com this week that he's likely to sign a contract of five years or more. The 28-year-old Sanchez is about four months younger than Greinke, 29, and the two have some comparable numbers over the past three seasons. Sanchez improved his stock with a strong postseason (1-2, 1.77 ERA) for the Detroit Tigers, who are interested in retaining him and may be willing to offer five years. The Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels are known to have interest in Sanchez, too. And in keeping with the tradition of teams coveting players who perform well against them, it won't be a surprise if the Nationals pursue Sanchez: He is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in six career starts at Nationals Park. Hamilton is a more complicated case than Greinke, because there's little concrete information about the teams involved, and some owners may be reluctant to spend $100 million or more on a player with past drug problems. Rival executives believe the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies are among the potential suitors, even though the traditional AL East powers -- the Red Sox and Yankees -- need a player of Hamilton's profile, too. (The Yankees, by the way, can't possibly consider themselves close to done with their offseason business. They have spent $37 million to bring back three aging pitchers -- Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera -- on one-year contracts. For a team that was swept in the ALCS this year and must deal with Derek Jeter's uncertain health, more significant upgrades are in order. The Red Sox have even greater incentive to act, following their last-place embarrassment.) It remains possible that Hamilton will return to the Texas Rangers, although retaining him doesn't seem to be a chief priority for the team. Some in the organization have appeared exasperated with him in recent years, for reasons ranging from two well-publicized incidents of public drinking to his proclivity for injuries. (He has been absent from the lineup an average of 33 times per season over his five years in Texas.) Hamilton is a market unto himself in this year's free-agent class, better than unsigned outfielders Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino and Nick Swisher but with added off-the-field questions. If contract length matters more to Hamilton than the average annual value, his best chance may be with a team that lacks a superstar everyday player and is desperate to make a statement - like the Mariners. Because of his unique position in the market, Hamilton could wait until sometime after the meetings before signing his contract. Prince Fielder's patience was rewarded last winter, when Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez suffered a knee injury in January and was lost for the season. The Tigers, suddenly lacking lineup protection for Miguel Cabrera, gave Fielder a nine-year, $214 million contract. Hamilton probably shouldn't bank on a similar event. Close followers of the statements from executives and agents in Nashville next week probably will notice differing views of the industry's financial realities. Agents will point out -- as Scott Boras has, on numerous occasions -- that television money has expanded revenues for individual teams, necessitating a similar upward adjustment in player salaries. General managers will respond by saying this team doesn't have that kind of money to spend on free agents, so they will shop on the trade market instead. That, among other reasons, is why Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman will be a popular man during the four-day proceedings. He needs offense badly and has pitching to trade -- most likely James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson -- to a pitching-starved team like the Kansas City Royals. As the Marlins proved over the past 12 months, it's more important to win in September and October than in the media room during the winter meetings. But every story of redemption needs a compelling first chapter, and this reborn hotel is a fitting place to begin. After all, it was in Nashville at the 2007 meetings that reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey made one of his many career moves -- from the Twins to the Mariners as a Rule 5 draft pick, for the sum of $50,000. Pretty soon, Hamilton and Greinke will be able to say they earn that much every game ... before the sixth inning.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Josh Hamilton Rumors: Could Phillies Surprise and Sign Slugger?

One prominent agent said the Philadelphia Phillies could “surprise everyone” and sign free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton this offseason, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. "Watch out for #phillies to surprise everyone and sign Hamilton,'' said one prominent agent. A scout told me the same thing. — Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 29, 2012 ...

Dodgers Set Sights On Greinke

With all the controversy going on in Los Angeles about who they will pick up in the offseason, many outlets have begun to report that they have their sights set firmly on current free agent pitcher Zack Greinke. By acquiring the talents of Greinke, the Dodgers could become viable MLB picks throughout the year. While Los Angeles certainly has the money to get Greinke going into the...

Dodgers meet with Zack Greinke

The Dodgers met with Zack Greinke this week, according to a person familiar with the situation who wasnt authorized to comment on the matter. Greinke is the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market and is expected to sign a nine-figure contract, something the Dodgers have the wherewithal to offer him. The Dodgers are also interested in Anibal Sanchez. If the Dodgers fail...

Zack Greinke Rumors: Dodges Meet with Free Agent

The Los Angeles Dodgers are rumored to be the favorite to sign right-hander Zack Greinke, and they took the first step in that process yesterday as they met with the free agent, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports. The Dodgers met Thursday with Zack Greinke. They're very serious about signing him, and this looks like the start of it. — Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) November...

What's the Angels plan for a rotation without Greinke?

If reports are to be believed, the Angels have gotten a sense of what kind of financial commitment it will take to keep Zack Greinke and decided that they just can't afford him... even though they kind of knew what his price tag would be when they traded for him... and still knew that price a few weeks ago when they overtly expressed how re-signing was their top priority.  ...

If the Dodgers want Greinke so badly, why haven't they signed him already?

If it wasn't obvious by now, I have become completely obsessed with the Angels and their pursuit of Zack Greinke.  Or I should say their aborted pursuit of Greinke because apparently everyone, including the Halos, has decided that the Dodgers are just going to give him all the money in the world.  That's the conventional wisdom.  The Dodgers have unlimited money and want...

Nothing has changed with Rangers, Hamilton

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels will head to Nashville for next week's Winter Meetings with nothing resolved concerning the future of Josh Hamilton. That's just the way Daniels expected it to be. "I've maintained contact with (agent) Mike Moye," Daniels said. "The interest has been consistent. The process that we agreed to back in the spring...

Rumor Mill: Zack Greinke either is or isn’t going to be a Dodger + Brian Wilson + Kyle … Lohse?

The Rangers are favorites to land Zack Greinke, according to Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register. For what it’s worth, I was told today the #Rangers are the favorites for Greinke. It could all just be posturing now. Wait and see. That goes against what Jim Bowden of ESPN said though. Los Angeles Dodgers are considered the front runner for Zack Greinke according to source...

Nats have lots to offer free agents

Two years ago, Zack Greinke rejected a trade to the Washington Nationals because he thought the team wasn't good enough. On Thursday, coming off a 98-win season, the Nats traded for Minnesota center fielder Denard Span, all but screaming at Greinke, "How do you like us now?" I'm not saying the Nats suddenly are the favorites for Greinke -- that distinction belongs...

Unmasking the mystery team: Zack Greinke

It happens every off-season, teams get into a frenzied bidding situation for a high profile free agent.  Just when we think we know who he is going to sign with- BAM!  They strike out of nowhere!  The mystery team!!! You never believe it when they are mentioned in rumors.  You scoff and mock the reporter who even suggests their presence.  But then, lo and behold, that'...

Five Signings The Sox Must Avoid

1. Back Up the Truck for Zack Greinke: Listen, I’m not going to sit here and sugar coat the state of the Boston Red Sox starting pitching. Assuming Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and John Lackey are healthy, it’s not exactly the most daunting pitching staff in the league. This staff needs an ace. This isn’t a secret. But DO NOT go out and be the team that throws...

Vote: It’s Christmas at Fenway, Which Free Agent Is at the Top of Your Red Sox Wish List?

Christmas time comes but once a year and the only thing hotter than the chestnuts roasting or hot chocolate is the MLB’s hot stove. The Red Sox are coming off a tough season in 2012 with a last-place finish in the American League East and 93 losses making it a rather forgettable summer. But with the offseason comes new life and a few big-name free agents could change the tune of...

Hot Stove Talk Part Tres

(see what I did there? Tres? You can call me the blog post title Expert, if you’d like) It’s been a while, so let’s get caught up on Free Agent news around the club. There hasn’t been much movement around Detroit, but some interesting things nonetheless. I am fascinated by the Josh Hamilton situation. Living in Dallas, I can tell you that the club’s attitude towards him...

Angels' Dipoto gets jump on winter meetings

Jerry Dipotos first offseason as the Angels general manager was nothing short of spectacular, but no one should expect a repeat performance this year. Dipoto departs for baseballs annual winter meetings next week in Nashville, Tenn., where hes likely to continue pursuing pitchers to fill out a starting rotation and relief group that is still incomplete. But he wont be making the...

Impact of moves on Phils, Bourn, LaRoche, Hamilton

The clacking you hear is the sound of dominoes falling throughout the major leagues. Wednesday, B.J. Upton agreed to a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Thursday, the Washington Nationals acquired center fielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins for pitching prospect Alex Meyer. A quick assessment of what the moves mean for other players in the Hot Stove...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.