CARLSBAD, Calif. — There was a small stage with a podium set up at the front of the media room at the General Managers Meetings this week.
At the behest of Major League Baseball, the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa also installed a sound system with two large speakers for any announcements teams would make.
It all went unused. Three days passed without any news being made.
That may start to feel like a theme before too long in this most uncertain of offseasons.
Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight Dec. 1, and for all the “business as usual” happy talk by the executives who gathered here, it’s not.
Baseball hasn’t had a strike or lockout since 1995, but it’s hard to find anybody around the game who feels that can be avoided this time around, given the frosty relationship between the league and the Players Association.
The hope is any lockout by the owners is brief and spring training starts as scheduled. The sides met here this week and more talks are planned.
As Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, that talks are taking place gives him hope the usual offseason business can get started before long.
But until GMs get a financial map of how the sport will be governed, major decisions will largely be on hold.
For now, the idea is to be ready for when the smoke clears. That’s the way the Red Sox are looking at it.
“Not that there’s any sort of imminent transaction, but I think it was just really good to just be able to talk with everybody,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Thursday morning as he left the property.
“You put everybody together in a place like this and it’s just going to spur meetings and conversations. It does sort of move things along. But it’s obviously still early in the offseason. There’s nothing imminent that came out of this, but I think it helped set the table and crystallize a lot of things.”
As Bloom noted, it had been two years since teams and agents were able to gather in person because of the pandemic.
At least one player, lefthander Steven Matz, was here to meet with teams in person. The 30-year-old was 14-7 with a 3.82 earned run average with the Blue Jays this past season.
If the Red Sox cannot come to an agreement with free agent Eduardo Rodriguez, Matz would be a candidate to replace him in the rotation.
Bloom smiled when asked if he met with players while here.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” he said.
The Sox will have stiff competition for Rodriguez. The Angels and Tigers have been identified as teams with interest. Detroit could have considerable appeal for Rodriguez given his friendship with Miguel Cabrera, who is under contract for two more seasons.
The Sox made Rodriguez a qualifying offer and would receive draft-pick compensation if he signs with another team.
It would be a surprise if Rodriguez accepted that one-year, $18.4 million offer even though it would be a $10.1 million raise from what he made this past season. That decision is due next week.
“Who’s not looking for pitching? [Rodriguez] is somebody who has proven himself in a tough division,” one National League executive said. “He’s going to have a lot of choices.”
The Yankees, who lost to the Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game, are being aggressive. GM Brian Cashman said Thursday that free agent shortstop Carlos Correa is very much on his radar, despite how savagely he was booed at Yankee Stadium this past season for having been a member of the dastardly 2017 Astros.
“The bottom line is, is he a great player?” Cashman said. “The answer to that is yes.”
For now, Bloom has baseball to watch. He and senior vice president of baseball operations Ben Crockett were off to Phoenix for two days to see Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, and other prospects in the Arizona Fall League.