The Astros are World Series champions, officially ending the 2022 baseball season. As the party continues in Houston, the rest of the baseball world has already begun its winter activities, as (knock on wood) the league gearing up for its first “regular” offseason in three years. The 2019-20 offseason was interrupted by the pandemic, with that uncertainty continuing to cloud MLB’s preparations heading into 2021. Last winter, the offseason was interrupted by a 99-day lockout , until the league and players’ union finally agree on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Luckily, it looks like we’re only in store to talk hot stove talk this offseason, in a welcome return to normal. We at MLB Trade Rumors are already on the move, with Matt Swartz’s annual Arbitration Projections released and our annual off-season outlook series well underway. Plus, the annual Top 50 Free Agents List and Free Agent Prediction Contest is coming soon, so stay tuned.
Here’s the recap of the key offseason dates on the baseball calendar…
NOVEMBER 6: All eligible players can officially file for free agency, although this technically marks the start of free agency, players are still not allowed to negotiate with anyone other than their current team. In the five days before the free agent market fully opens, teams and players must make their contractual decisions regarding club options, player options, waivers and mutual options. The trading market is also fully reopening today, and it is rare but not entirely uncommon to see significant trading taking place as soon as the market opens.
NOVEMBER 7-10: The annual meetings of GM, which take place this year in Las Vegas.
NOVEMBER 10: The free agent market officially opens and free agents are now free to negotiate and sign with other teams. This is also the deadline for option decisions, as well as the deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers to eligible free agents. MLBTR’s Anthony Franco recently looked at which players are most likely to receive the $19.65 million one-year deals from their current teams, and which players represent tougher decisions for clubs.
14-17 NOVEMBER: Awards week begins, as the league announces the results of a major award on each of these four days. Rookie of the Year winners are revealed on the 14th, Manager of the Year winners on the 15th, Cy Young Award winners on the 16th, and finally League MVPs on the 17th. Additional contract bonus money based on high results in these reward races, but there is an additional hot pan element this year. Due to the Prospect Promotion Incentive Plan included in the new collective agreement, the top two finalists in the AL and NL ROY votes will receive a full year of Major League service time, regardless of how long they serve. have actually passed on the active lists of their clubs. .
NOVEMBER 15: The deadline for teams to define their rosters of 40 players before the Rule 5 draft. This usually involves adding top minor leaguers to the 40 players to prevent their selection in the R5, and several clubs could look to make trades to free up space for 40 players and facilitate any potential roster tightening.
NOVEMBER 18: The no-bid deadline, as teams must decide by this date whether or not to bid contracts to players eligible for arbitration. This date represents a notable difference from the regular offseason schedule, as the no-bid deadline is usually late November or early December. Given the closeness of the decision date on the 40-player roster, it seems entirely possible that we could see no-tender decisions earlier than usual, so teams can free up more spots on the list.
NOVEMBER 20: The deadline for free agents issued qualifying offers to decide whether or not to accept the QO.
DECEMBER 4-7: The Annual Winter Meetings, which take place this year in San Diego.
DECEMBER 7: Draft Rule 5, returning to its usual date on the last day of winter meetings. Last year’s Rule 5 draft was canceled due to the lockout, marking the first time since 1891 that some form of R5 has not taken place.
JANUARY 13: The filing deadline for arbitration-eligible teams and players to submit 2023 salary numbers. Arbitration hearings will begin taking place in March, although teams and players can agree on salary any time (even a few minutes before) a hearing takes place. However, many teams are adopting the ‘case and trial’ tactic, meaning they will automatically choose to go to a hearing with any player who disagrees on a salary by January 13, without further discussion on an agreement avoiding arbitration. .
JANUARY 15: The international signing window officially opens and closes 11 months later on December 15, 2023. Many big names in the 2023 international class will sign on the first day the market opens, as many of these prospects have already agreed to unofficial deals with teams years in advance. Since Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have not reached an agreement on the league’s desire to implement a draft for international prospects, the current international signing system and qualifying offer system will all remain. two in place for the duration of the CBA (although the 2026 season).
FEBRUARY 24: Spring training games officially begin.
8 MARCH: The World Baseball Classic begins, with games played in Taichung, Tokyo, Phoenix and Miami during the 14-day, 20-team event. The WBC returns for the first time since 2017, with the 2021 tournament having been canceled due to the pandemic.
MARCH 30: Opening day