La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Winter meetings Day One: Greetings from Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 9, 2013 - 10:07 AM

I was going to begin this by complaining about my flight last night from MSP, which was delayed three hours and forced me to arrive at the hotel at 3:10 a.m. But I just heard that ESPN's Jerry Crasnick was delayed 15 hours yesterday while trying to get out of Philly, so I'm not doing that bad!

Crashed around 3:50. Toss and turned. Woke up at 7:20 to prep for an 8:30 meeting. I will be fueled by Foldgers today. The funny part was when I shuffled out of my hotel room to head down. A guy in workout clothes is walking down the hallway and yells at me, ``you already hunting!''

He stuck out a hand. It was Mike Redmond, the human pick me up.

Several months ago, I predicted this would happen. The new TV contract would kick in, sending $25 million more to each major league team. I said at the beginning of the 2013 season that it would burn a hole through the pockets of these fat-cat owners.

Last week, more than $700 million was given out to free agents - that includes $73 million spent by the Twins on Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. And 26 teams added a player via trade or free agent signing, Derek Goold of the St. Louis Press-Dispatch pointed out.

And that just might have been the league stretching its legs. More is expected this week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. at the annual winter meetings. Ervin Santana needs a home. Masahiro Tanaka could be posted. David Price could be traded. And a whole lot more.

As I pointed out in today's paper, Twins GM Terry Ryan is headed to the meetings with an open mind. If he has a chance to upgrade anywhere, he'll listen. Ryan and his staff flew in Sunday afternoon.

One thing that won't happen - and is usually a staple of the Twins visit to the meetings - is a Rule 5 selection. The Twins annually go into the draft with room on their 40-man roster to select someone. Seems unlikely this year.

``Thankfully we did that last year because we got (Ryan) Pressly and he was a good acquisition,'' Ryan said. ``It is possible (this year) but it is probably improbable.''

Ryan is expected to meet with teams and agents throughout the week as he searches for some offense and perhaps another starting pitcher. If the Twins make any room on their 40-man roster it will be to add a player through trade or free agency, a welcome change.

The first news of the day has been announced. The Hall of Fame Expansion Era Committee announced that Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre were all unanimously voted into The Hall. Among those not receiving 12 of the 16 votes required for election: Tommy John, Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner.

ESPN's Buster Olney couldn't resist with the following tweet: ``George Steinbrenner finishes a half-dozen votes short of HOF induction. I'd bet he wouldn't have been thrilled that Torre got in before him.''

The Expansion Era committee meets every three years. Next year, the Golden Era Committee will look at candidates who contributed to the game from 1947-72. Then the Pre-Integration Era will meet in 2015 to examine candidates from baseball's origins to 1946.

Headed to the lobby now. Hope to check in this afternoon with updates.



Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
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