Now that the Mets have moved on to the World Series, and eliminated the Cubs in the process, there are now 27 organizations, and 27 fanbases that are all 100 percent invested in the offseason. While it won't begin until November 5th at the earliest, here are some dates to mark down on your calendar.
Free agency - Five days after the World Series ends
Players that aren't under contract for 2016 will officially become free agents. This offseason has quite the list, as players like Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ben Zobrist, Ian Desmond, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Zack Greinke are all on the market.
The date to either accept or reject a qualifying offer usually coincides with the GM meetings. Last year the deadline was at the start of the meetings, however if the World Series were to go six or seven games, the final date could potentially fall between the 9th and the 12th. No player has ever accepted a QO before, and it doesn't look like 2015 will be the year to break that trend.
GM meetings - November 9th-12th
These meetings are generally where the framework for trades that happen during the Winter Meetings are initially discussed. Last year, the executives also reviewed the pace of play changes that were tested during the Arizona Fall League. It's unclear if there's anything like that on year's agenda, but there could be discussions about a rule change for protecting middle infielders.
Awards season - November 10th-19th
November 10th: BBWAA finalists announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET) & Rawlings Gold Gloves (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET)
November 12th: Louisville Sliver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
November 16th: BBWAA Rookies of the Year, (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
November 17th: BBWAA Managers of the Year, (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
November 18th: BBWAA AL and NL Cy Awards, (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
November 19th: BBWAA AL and NL MVPs, (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Rule 5 Draft protection - November 20th
This is the deadline for teams to protect their Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor leaguers by placing them on the 40-man roster. According to MLB these are the players who are eligible.
"Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years.
All players on a Major League Baseball team's 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are "protected" and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft."
Non-tender deadline - December 2nd
This is the final day for team's to decide whether or not they want to extend a contract to a player that is still under team control. Teams will generally choose not to tender a contract to a player who stands to make more in arbitration than what they're worth on the field. Last year, Brandon Beachy, Gordon Beckham, Everth Cabrera, and Kris Medlen (among others), were players that were non-tendered.
Winter Meetings - December 7th-10th
This is where a lot of the offseason trading actually takes place. Nearly a month after the GM meetings, team executives, agents, players, and managers will descend upon Nashville, Tennessee. Last year's winter meetings were incredibly exciting, and where A.J. Preller earned his "mad-man" reputation.
Rule 5 Draft - December 10th
The Rule 5 draft happens on the final day of the winter meetings, and has three parts to it.
"The Rule 5 draft occurs in three phases, the MLB phase, where eligible players can be selected and placed on the 25-man roster for a $50,000 fee, and the Triple-A and Double-A phases, where players can be selected for a fee if they are not on the protected list, but in this phase, they do no need to go to the 25-man roster."
If at any point during the following season, a player selected during the MLB phase is taken off the 25-man roster, the player has to pass through waivers and then be offered back to the team he was originally taken from. However if that team doesn't want the player back, then he may be demoted to the minor leagues.