General manager meetings start today in Chicago

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Today is the start of the annual general manager meetings in Chicago, which are not to be confused with the far more interesting, action-packed, and media-driven winter meetings that begin next month in Indianapolis.
Bruce Miles of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald has a preview of what the GMs will be up to for the next 72 hours:

With a nod toward the tough economy, baseball’s general managers will give up opulence and luxury for practicality when they convene for their annual meetings, beginning today at O’Hare.



Instead of resorts, golf games and lavish dinners, the GMs figure barely to see the sunshine as they hole up at the nation’s hub airport for a quick gathering that will end at about noon Wednesday. In addition to the regular business discussions and undoubtedly more talk of instant replay, the GMs figure to mix in a little trade talk.

Asked what he expects to happen at the GM meetings, Cardinals boss John Mozeliak said: “My expectation is that this will be much more about MLB business.” Perhaps, but things have gotten off to a very fast start this offseason and it would be surprising if there aren’t at least a couple big moves hammered out over the next few days.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.