The Winter Meetings are an annual event, held each December, in which representatives of all 30 Major League Baseball teams and their 160 minor league baseball affiliates convene for four days to discuss league business and conduct off-season trades and transactions. Attendees include league executives, team owners, general managers, team scouts, visitors from baseball-playing countries, trade show exhibitors, and people seeking employment with minor league organizations. The Rule 5 draft, in which minor league players who are not on a team's 40-man roster can be drafted by a major league team, is held on the last day of the meetings.
In 2015, the 114th annual Winter Meetings were held from December 7 to 10 in Nashville, Tennessee. The 2016 Winter Meetings were held from December 4 to 8 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.
The tradition of baseball holding off-season meetings during December dates back to 1876, the first offseason of the National League. At the 1876 meetings, William Hulbert was selected to be the league's president, and two teams (the New York Mutuals and Philadelphia Athletics) were expelled from the league for failing to play all their scheduled games. The Winter Meetings became an annual event in 1901.
- 2018 - Las Vegas
- 2017 - Orlando
- 2016 - National Harbor
- 2015 - Nashville
- 2014 - San Diego
- 2013 - Orlando
- 2012 - Nashville
- 2011 - Dallas
- 2010 - Orlando
- 2009 - Indianapolis
- 2008 - Las Vegas
- 2007 - Nashville
- 2006 - Orlando
- 2005 - Dallas
- 2004 - Anaheim
- 2003 - New Orleans
- 2002 - Nashville
- 2001 - Boston
- 2000 - Dallas
- 1999 - Anaheim
- 1998 - Nashville
- 1997 - New Orleans
- 1996 - Boston
- 1995 - Los Angeles
- 1994 - Dallas
- 1993 - Atlanta
- 1992 - Louisville
- 1991 - Miami
- 1990 - Rosemont
- 1989 - Nashville
- 1988 - Atlanta
- 1987 - Dallas
- 1986 - Hollywood
- 1985 - San Diego
- 1984 - Houston
- 1983 - Nashville
- 1982 - Honolulu
- 1981 - Hollywood
- 1980 - Dallas
- 1979 - Toronto
- 1978 - Orlando
- 1977 - Honolulu
- 1976 - Los Angeles
- 1975 - Hollywood
- 1974 - New Orleans
- 1973 - Houston
- 1972 - Honolulu
- 1971 - Phoenix
- 1970 - Los Angeles
- 1969 - Fort Lauderdale
- 1968 - San Francisco
- 1967 - Mexico City
- 1966 - Columbus
- 1965 - Fort Lauderdale
- 1964 - Houston
- 1963 - San Diego
- 1962 - Rochester
- 1961 - Tampa
- 1960 - Louisville
- 1959 - St. Petersburg
- 1958 - Washington, D.C.
- 1957 - Colorado Springs
- 1956 - Jacksonville
- 1955 - Columbus
- 1954 - Houston
- 1953 - Atlanta
- 1952 - Phoenix
- 1951 - Columbus
- 1950 - St. Petersburg
- 1949 - New York City
- 1948 - Chicago
- 1947 - New York City
- 1946 - Los Angeles
- 1945 - Chicago
- 1944 - New York City
The Winter Meetings attract several thousand participants; in 2014 organizers anticipated 3,000 attendees. These include team owners, field managers, team scouts, players' agents, lawyers and accountants specializing in baseball, and visitors from baseball-playing countries. Baseball players generally do not attend, although free agents come to introduce themselves to many teams. At the 2014 Winter Meetings in San Diego, an estimated 750 media personnel received press passes.
Player trades and signings
With all the principals in one place, the Winter Meetings are typically the site of player trades and free-agent signings. However, the informal meetings that used to take place in hotel lobbies up until the end of the 20th century have been replaced by texting and emailing; most interactions take place in the privacy of suites due to the preponderance of media personnel and fans converging on the site.
Among the notable trades and signings that have been made at the Winter Meetings are:
- At the 1975 Winter Meetings in Fort Lauderdale, new Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck sat at a table in the lobby behind a sign that said "Open for Business". During the course of the meetings, Veeck negotiated six trades involving 22 players.
- At the 1988 Winter Meetings in Atlanta, the Texas Rangers closed three trades involving 15 players and signed free agent pitcher Nolan Ryan.
- At the 1992 Winter Meetings in Louisville, first-time free agent Barry Bonds was signed by the San Francisco Giants for six years and $43 million. Bonds personally negotiated to have a hotel suite at his disposal during road games.
- On the last day of the 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, Albert Pujols, who had won a World Series ring with the St. Louis Cardinals that fall, inked a 10-year, $250 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
- In the space of 24 hours at the 2014 Winter Meetings in San Diego, the Los Angeles Dodgers concluded six transactions with four teams, involving 19 players and a free agent.
Concurrent with the Winter Meetings, a trade show featuring close to 300 vendors of baseball equipment, services, and promotions takes place. Another annual event is the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair, during which recent college graduates seeking internships and employment with minor league organizations schedule on-site interviews. The month of December is considered "the height of baseball hiring season", as 400 to 500 workers are hired each year.
Several events associated with the Hall of Fame also take place at the Winter Meetings:
- The voting bodies that superseded the Veterans Committee, which are now the only bodies that elect long-retired players and non-playing personnel, meet and vote.
- The winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting is announced.
- The Baseball Writers' Association of America conducts its annual meeting and announces the recipient of its J. G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing. Both the Frick and Spink Awards are presented as part of the Hall of Fame's annual induction festivities.
- The Scout of the Year award is presented at a special banquet.
- Peden 2011, p. 195.
- "2014 Baseball Winter Meetings returns to San Diego after three decades". Minor League Baseball. 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Horn, Jonathan (December 9, 2014). "Baseball Jobs: Will work for peanuts". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Links, Zach (11 December 2014). "2014 Rule 5 Draft Results". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
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- Svriuga, Barry (23 November 2015). "Baseball's winter meetings coming to — Washington?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Solomon & Freeman 2012, p. 185.
- Gorman 2007, pp. 7-8.
- Costa, Brian (9 December 2014). "Baseball's Winter Meetings—Minus the Meetings". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Solomon & Freeman 2012, p. 182.
- Waldstein, David (7 December 2014). "Baseball's Annual Winter Meetings Have It All, Except Quietude". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Carroll 2007, p. 78.
- Cassavell, AJ (2016). "The biggest Winter Meetings trades of all time". MLB.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Sypher 1990, p. 100.
- Stark, Jayson (9 December 2011). "Angels Shock the Baseball World". ESPN. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Nightengale, Bob (12 December 2014). "'Aggressive' winter meetings end with many winners". USA Today. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Plunkett, Bill (11 December 2014). "Kemp trade is latest piece of Dodgers' reconstruction". Orange County Register. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Barr, Chad; Curtis, Ted (12 May 2012). "Class is in Session at the Baseball Winter Meetings". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Brown, Dwane (8 December 2014). "Baseball Executives, Jobseekers In San Diego For Winter Meetings". KPBS.
- "King of Baseball Award by Minor League Baseball". Baseball Almanac. 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Ford C. Frick Award". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Geltner 2012, p. 203.
- Sandoval & Nowlin 2011, p. 165.
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- Geltner, Ted (2012). Last King of the Sports Page: The Life and Career of Jim Murray. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0826272738.
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