Why does MLB need winter meetings, anyway?

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Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette asks why baseball even bothered having winter meetings:

One wonders what the purpose of these winter meetings really is at this point. As Neal Huntington and other executives acknowledged, the timing of the non-tender deadline Saturday works very much against teams making moves. Who wants to trade for somebody who might be a free agent in a couple days?



Moreover, the number of teams genuinely motivated to make some big media splash at this event is exactly equal to the number of teams with a $200 million-plus payroll. So, the Yankees ended up with someone else’s great player when that someone else no longer could pay him. This is news? And, really, how much publicity does baseball get in mid-December no matter what happens in a hotel somewhere?

I’m gonna be honest here for just a second, because we’re all friends and it’s Friday: Kovacevic raises an interesting point, but the winter meetings were absolutely crucial this year because Craig’s family was getting pretty sick of him being home all the time after one whole week as a full-time blogger.
Covering everything from Indianapolis, doing impromptu photo shoots with Manny Acta, and even breaking the news of Rich Harden signing were all secondary to simply getting him out of the house. His wife has actually requested that MLB hold another winter meetings next month, perhaps in Dubuque.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.