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|Welcome to the winter meetings -- hope you brought your wallet!|
Fans hate them because their favorite team is either: (a) not signing a coveted free agent; or worse (b) signing a coveted free agent for so much money that he's bound to be a financial drain on the team for years to come (hello, Russ Ortiz).
And general managers especially hate the winter meetings because they are under so much intense pressure that it's a wonder several aren't turned into diamonds by the end of the week. I feel for the GMs during the winter meetings, I really do. Reporters and fans are howling that they must sign someone -- anyone, but preferably not Jose Guillen -- to demonstrate the team is trying to improve, regardless of the talent available. So what if the supply of worthy free agents is low (as it is this year)? The demand always remains high because there are still 30 teams who need to improve each winter. That means the prices will always climb. On top of that, the general managers are hopelessly outmatched against the agents. Look at it this way. General managers traditionally reach their position because they are shrewd evaluators of talent (I know, I know, this is not necessarily the case in Tampa or Kansas City, but stay with me on this one) and not because they negotiate so well. Yet they have to go up against agents who make their very living off negotiating contracts. It's like watching American League pitchers bat in interleague games. They simply don't train to hit anywhere near as much as the pitcher trains to get them out. That's why you have exchanges like this:
|The winter meetings aren't exactly fun for reporters either.|