The Winter Meetings are finally underway in Las Vegas. There's already been one trade and one wild rumor. Players have declined or accepted arbitration so we know who the free agents actually are. Time for the free for all. Things might be clogged up for a while until that first big move happens. Sabathia to the Yankees? Burnett to the Cardinals? Peavy anywhere? Who knows what it will be or of it will even happen. We might be in for a long week of nothin'.
Two things will happen today though: Greg Maddux will announce his retirement and the Veterans Committee will announce the results for their 2009 Hall of Fame ballot. There are two committees voting, one for pre-1943 players and one for post-1942 players. A maximum of four players can get elected per group, and they require 75% of the votes from the committee members to get in.
Since these are groups of people hashing it out instead of a straight ballot I couldn't even begin to predict who might get in. Both groups have worthy candidates but due to the nature of the beast, it's anybody's guess who might get elected if anyone. On the pre-1943 side I don't have a clue as to who might get in. The last such vote for pre-war players was for the Negro Leager ballot, and I was absolutely certain Buck O'Neil and Minnie Minoso would get in and they didn't. So really, it's anybody's guess. The committee consists of only 12 voting members so we'll probably see someone getting in due to a consensus in the small group. The post-1942 I see four obvious cases for enshrinement with Jim Kaat, Ron Santo, Gil Hodges and Joe Torre, although I like all the players on the ballot in their own way. This group has to get 48 out of 64 votes so it's very possible that noone gets in at all if voting splits among the worthy candidates. All we can do now is wait and hope that the guys voting are as passionate about this stuff as the fans.