The Opener: Winter Meetings, Relief Market, HOF

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Here’s what we’re keeping an eye on to wrap up the week…

1. Winter Meetings start this weekend

The Winter Meetings should see a thaw to the frigid hot stove thus far, and the glacial pace with which the offseason has moved should quicken. The annual meetings take place in San Diego this year between Dec. 4-7 and will bring key baseball operations leaders from all 30 teams, agents and media into one place. Several reports have suggested that AL MVP Aaron Judge could make his decision there, which could help to set the star-studded shortstop market in motion. It’ll also be interesting if top starters Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon find deals. There could well be blockbuster trades as well, with Oakland catcher Sean Murphy among the likeliest players to be moved this offseason. It’s not just deals either; on the 6th we’ll see the first MLB draft lottery, and that’ll be followed by the Rule 5 Draft on the 7th.

2. Relief market set to move?

It certainly seems so, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. He reports a “sense among some execs that a wave of second-tier is moving fast and on the cusp of landing deals”, citing the likes of Chris Martin and Miguel Castro as players in that group. Martin snuck onto MLBTR’s Top 50 free agents in 47th place, with a predicted deal of two-years, $14MM. As always, there’s plenty of options in middle-relief. Beyond Martin and Castro, the likes of Seth Lugo, Adam Ottavino, Andrew Chafin, Michael Fulmer, Corey Knebel and Mychal Givens (among many others) remain unsigned at this point.

3. Hall of Fame results coming

On Sunday, the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Era Hall of Fame Committee will vote on eight former big league players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer. The contemporary era comprises players who contributed to the game between 1980 and the present day. The eight players are Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling. Players who receive more than 75% of the vote from the committee will be slated for induction into Cooperstown next July. This announcement runs separate to the usual Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame voting, which will be revealed in January.

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