Baseball Winter Meetings Underway

The Baseball Winter Meetings are officially underway down in San Diego. Free agent signings and trade rumors will start flying around the internet this week – although Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto insists that it’s going to be a quiet week for the M’s.

The underlying story throughout the convention will be the relationship between MLB and MiLB regarding the major’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league teams. A final deal is unlikely to be struck this year, but it will be a continuous point of discussion throughout the week at the only event that is attended by every major and minor league team.

It will also be interesting to see how frosty the other 29 MLB teams are towards executives of the Houston Astros, now that the details of their sign-stealing project have been revealed. Will MLB announce its punishment this week?

As always, the Rainiers have a contingent of front office employees there. The PCL holds several key operations meetings during the event, and the Baseball Trade Show is a must-attend for some Tacoma staffers. Additionally, the Winter Meetings are a great place for minor league teams to do some hiring.

The Mariners have already moved their primary trade chip prior to the Winter Meetings, sending catcher Omar Narvaez to the Milwaukee Brewers for 22-year-old class-A pitching prospect Adam Hill, and a draft pick. The draft pick is likely to be No. 70 or 71 this coming June.

The trade is somewhat controversial, as the Mariners gave up a very strong hitter for little return, but apparently the M’s decided they couldn’t live with Narvaez’s defense any longer. Tom Murphy will be the Mariners No. 1 catcher moving forward.

Look for Seattle to sign a veteran Triple-A catcher with MLB experience before spring training. They’ll need someone to share Tacoma catching duties with Joe Odom. Last year Jose Lobaton filled this role.

We don’t get too many changes among the radio announcers in the Pacific Coast League, but suddenly we have a pair of moves.

Longtime Omaha Storm Chasers broadcaster Mark Nasser has stepped away from the booth, but will continue to work for the team in the front office. A growing family made the road trips less appealing to Nasser.

Omaha’s ownership group has several minor league teams at different classifications, including the Double-A Richmond team, so they promoted within their organization and moved up Jake Eisenberg from the Flying Squirrels.

Another opening has developed in Reno, where lead voice Ryan Radtke has resigned from the booth due to his booming career. Radtke does national radio broadcasts for Westwood One, including NFL and college football games, and the NCAA Tournament. If you listen to national broadcasts on the radio, you have probably heard him – he was on the mic for the SEC Championship Game on Saturday. Haven’t heard anything from the Aces on their plans to fill the opening.

Both Mark and Ryan are good friends and I wish them the best in the future.

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