Now that the World Series is over, the offseason dates can be more permanently etched onto team calendars. After all, the hot stove waits for no one, and the first day of real consequence looms just five days away. That’s barely enough time to, hypothetically, plan a century’s-delayed parade.
Here are all the dates you need to know for the next month:
November 7 - Option and Qualifying Offer Deadline
Teams must officially announce whether they are exercising a contract option on an eligible player or tendering qualified pending free agents a qualifying offer. In order to qualify for a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer, pending free agents must have spent the complete 2016 season with that team.
This rule makes players like Rich Hill, Josh Reddick, Aroldis Chapman, Steve Pearce, Mark Melancon, and Carlos Beltran among others ineligible. They are therefore able to sign with any team without being attached to draft pick compensation—which hampers free agent value.
November 7-10 - General Managers Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona
While they aren’t the Winter Meetings, the general manager meetings are when the hot stove begins to warm. The majority of transactions announced around these times amount to procedural moves. However, last year, some blocks were busted as Andrelton Simmons was traded around this time.
November 14 - Deadline for Players to Accept or Decline Qualifying Offers
Once being officially offered the one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer, players have one week to make the decision whether to accept or decline. If they accept, they will remain with their current team for the 2017 season at the $17.2 million price set by averaging the top 125 annual salaries from the previous season.
If they decline however, that player is now attached to draft pick compensation. If a new team signs the player, that team is required to forfeit their first-round pick in the upcoming draft. Meanwhile, the team that player left receives a compensatory draft pick located in between the first and second rounds.
Players considered to be on the bubble about receiving a qualifying offer include but are not limited to Mike Napoli, Michael Saunders, and Matt Wieters.
November 16-17 - MLB Owners Meeting in Chicago, Illinois
Presumably the parade will be tidied up by then so that the owners may discuss what is important to them. With labor on their mind, this meeting will likely amount to discussions and rumors surrounding the impending CBA negotiations. The current CBA expires on December 1.
November 20 - Last day to submit 40-man roster prior to Rule 5 Draft
The Rule 5 Draft is met with little fanfare, but it is nonetheless important. It gives players who were drafted either four or five years ago a chance to make it on to a major league roster if they haven’t already made it on to a 40-man roster.
The Rule 5 Draft takes place December 8.
December 1 - CBA officially expires
Negotiations for the upcoming CBA are expected to remain tame. However, some small issues have emerged in advance of the process.
December 5-8 - The Winter Meetings
The Winter Meetings have become The Happening Spot for the scolding of the hot stove. For instance, last year, Ken Giles, Brett Lawrie, Justin Wilson, Neil Walker, Jon Niese, and Adam Lind all got traded and that was just the first day.
I would expect general managers to be particularly active on the trade front this winter given how scant the free agent class is. These four days will be crazy.
December 8 - Rule 5 Draft
The Winter Meetings conclude with the Rule 5 Draft. Players are eligible to be selected from a competitors team if a) they were 18 when they got drafted and this is their fifth season not being included on a 40-man roster, or; b) they were 19 when they got drafted and this is their fourth season not being included on a 40-man roster.
If a team makes a selection, that player must be carried on the new team’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season. If they are not, that player is eligible to be claimed back by their original team.
A total of 65 players were selected in last season’s Rule 5 Draft, including Joey Rickard, Joe Biagini, and Matt Bowman who all had impressive impacts on their new rosters.
Stay tuned for posts that break down each individual event and what is yet to come in the following months, including salary arbitration dates in January.