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And The Winter Meetings Begin

Things have barely begun down in Orlando, yet the place is already hopping. The Winter Meetings, for those that don't know, is a chance for all the MLB general managers to be in the same place at the same time, party a lot, and have rumors and deals flying everywhere. It's a wild time, and normally this is seen as the "kick off'" for the free agent market. Big deals will get done within the next four days, and since all the baseball writers and reporters are in the same place too - and everyone is looking for a scoop - you'll hear about 20 bajillion rumors as well.

While the Rays haven't historically been busy during the Winter Meetings (they tend to wait for things to get more calm before swooping in), there have been some recent news relevant to the Rays.

  • Carl Crawford is set to get a huge contract after last night's head-turning deal: Jayson Werth accepted the Nationals' offer and got  $126M, 7 year contract. Wow. This free agent market is nuts.
  • The Red Sox finalized the Adrian Gonzalez deal. No word is out on if they got an extension in place, but Gonzalez will be a Red Sox in 2011.
  • A week after acquiring Carlos Villanueva, the Blue Jays completed another trade, acquiring top prospect Brett Lawrie for Shaun Marcum. While it will be very nice to get Shaun Marcum out of the AL East, it's starting to look like the Blue Jays are willing to be active this off-season to make a push for the playoffs. Just what we need - another competitive team in the East.
  • Jason Bartlett is still one of the hottest trade chips out there, so it's possible he's on another team by the end of the Winter Meetings. The Rays won't rush anything or force a deal, but I could see Bartlett being moved soon.
  • This year, for the first time, DRaysBay will have its own reporters on the ground in the Winter Meetings. Erik Hahmann will be snooping around Orlando today, as well as Jason Collette (Dock of the Rays) and Tommy Rancel (The Process Report). All of them will be there for today, and they're planning on being pretty busy. You can follow their tweets all day below on our Winter Meetings tracker, along with rumors from MLBTradeRumors and thoughts from DRB's own twitter feed:

If you prefer, you can follow Erik, Tommy, and Jason directly on twitter: @ehahmann@trancel, and @jasoncollette. Also, we'll be updating the DRB Facebook feed throughout the day as well, so if Facebook is more your style than Twitter, you can follow us there to get all the rumor and news updates. This should be an exciting week, to say the least.