As you fade into the black of the depressing offseason without baseball, make sure you don’t go too far.
There is plenty of hot stove discussions and events to track during the mean cold of winter, some of which have started already. As of 9 a.m. ET last Thursday, eligible players are now free agents, so time to start tracking the moves of Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer and many others. See? There’s plenty of baseball action coming up!
That’s only the start of it. Here’s everything to keep up with until the 2018 season finally opens (I feel like I’ve been waiting a month already).
Nov. 9: Silver Slugger winners announced
No finalists needed here. The winners will be revealed at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
Nov. 13: M Meetings/ ROY announced
General managers will also be heading to the warmth of Orlando to kick off the GM Meetings which will go on for four days. Don’t expect to hear too many juicy rumors in these meetings, as it’s mainly to settle off-the-field matters. Still, things can happen.
Finally, the Rookies of the Year will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET, where they will try to add as much drama as possible to make you forget that Judge and Bellinger have basically already won the award.
Nov. 14: Managers of the Year announced
Back again on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET, the Managers of the Year will be revealed in what should be a much more interesting conversation than that of the Rookie of the Year.
Nov. 15: Cy Young Award winners announced
Different day, but same time and channel. Who does the BBWAA vote the most valuable hurlers in the league?
Nov. 16: Qualifying Offer Decisions Due/MVP Awards announced
Having received their qualifying offers a week before, it’s time for potential free agents to make the big decision: “Should I stay or should I go?”
Thanks to the new CBA, teams that sign a qualified free agent no longer sacrifice their highest unprotected pick, so maybe we’ll see more action for players that turned down an offer to return to their former teams.
Again on the same channel and at the same time, we will finally learn who the MVPs are. This is probably a good opportunity to once again stress that THESE ARE REGULAR SEASON AWARDS.
Nov. 17: Esurance MLB Awards announced
This isn’t a well known event, but it is a fun one. Also on MLB Network, winners for more unique awards like Best Personality of the Year and Best Offensive Play of the Year will be revealed. Best Offensive Play includes candidates like Byron Buxton’s inside-the-park home run and Chris Coghlan’s Superman soar over Yadier Molina to plate an entertaining run. It should be a good time.
Nov. 20: Deadline to add Rule 5 Draft eligibles to 40-man rosters
Protect those players! Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres will be an obvious addition to their roster.
A few trades always happen around this deadline as clubs look to make room on their 40-man rosters.
Dec. 1: Non-tender deadline
Pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players become free agents if they do not receive a contract offer. A new wave of free agents will be available, but if they didn’t receive an offer from their team, they likely won’t be worth a ton on the free agent market.
Dec. 10-14: Winter Meetings
Cue the madness! The whole “winter” part likely won’t be embraced in the warmth of Orlando, but the warm climate will sufficiently compliment the hot stove rumors that will be swirling around for five days (does Giancarlo Stanton get traded?). The biggest splashes of the offseason will likely happen here, and you will be able to get the scoop by following MLB Daily Dish on Twitter.
The Winter Meetings will also be concluded by the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place on the final day of the meetings. Again, it’s rare to strike gold in this draft, but players like Dan Uggla, R.A. Dickey and Odubel Herrera have been scooped up in the past.
Mid-January: Hall of Fame Class of 2018 announced
Chipper Jones and Jim Thome are notables that will be making their debut on the ballot, and it would also be very disappointing if Vladimir Guerrero doesn’t get the call this year.
February: Arbitration hearings, Spring Training
The good news: baseball is back! Pitchers and catchers report to their camps in mid-February, followed by position players.
The bad news: Your team can be put into an awkward position during arbitration hearings as players look to earn their worth. It can become especially awkward if your team president rips a player publicly while mistaking said player’s name (see Randy Levine).
March 29: Opening Day
We made it! We get early baseball in 2018 as the new CBA granted extra days off during the season, so Opening Day was moved back to a Thursday, when every team opens up their season with a clean slate. I can’t wait. Luckily, there’s plenty of action to be appreciated in the meantime.