Now, the long cold dark winter is upon us. Here, from CBS Sports, are the important upcoming off-season dates and deadlines. For convenience, clip and save on your refrigerator.
Nov. 3: As of 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, all eligible players with six-plus years of service time, are free agents. Free agents cannot sign with new teams just yet. They have to wait five days for that, which is the exclusive negotiating period where the player can only speak to his previous team.
Nov. 7: Most contract option decisions are due on this date, which is within five days of the end of the World Series. Club options are controlled by the team, player options and opt-outs are controlled by the player, and mutual options are pointless. They are essentially a way to move money to next year’s payroll.
Nov. 7: Deadline for teams to tender their eligible free agents the Qualifying Offer, one-year contract worth the average of the top 125 salaries, which is roughly $18.4 million this off-season. To be eligible, a player must have spent the entire 2021 season with his team and have never received a Qualifying Offer previously.
Nov. 7: Free agency begins. Free agency is expected to be slower than usual this winter given the looming collective bargaining agreement.
Nov. 7: Gold Glove winners announced live on. ESPN broadcast at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Finalists for 2021’s Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player awards will be announced live on MLB Network TV at 5 p.m.
Nov. 9-11: GM Meetings in Carlsbad, California.
Nov. 11: Silver Sluggers announced live on MLB Network TV at 5 p.m.
Nov. 15: The 2022 Hall of Fame ballot will be released. Not the winners, only the names on the ballot.
Nov. 15: Rookies of the Year winners announced live on MLB Network TV at 5 p.m.
Nov. 16: Managers of the Year winners announced live on MLB Network TV at 5 p.m.
Nov. 17: Cy Young winners announced live on MLB Network TV at 5 p.m.
Nov. 17: Deadline for free agents to accept or reject the Qualifying Offer. Players who accept the Qualifying Offer sign that one-year, $18.4 million contract and remain with their team and cannot be traded, without their consent, until June 15. Free agents who reject the Qualifying Offer are attached to draft pick compensation. Their former team receives a draft pick if they sign elsewhere and their new team has to forfeit a draft pick and international bonus money.
Nov. 18: Most Valuable Player winner announce live on MLB Network TV at 5 p.m.
Nov. 19: Deadline for teams to add eligible minor leaguers to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Generally speaking, college players drafted no later than 2018 and high school players drafted no later than 2017 are Rule 5 Draft eligible this winter, as are players signed internationally no later than 2017.
Dec. 1: Non-tender deadline. This is the deadline for teams to offer their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players a contract for 2022. They don’t have to sign them just yet, but they do have to offer a contract. Players who do not receive a contract offer are considered “non-tendered” and become free agents. This is Jon Daniels’s Christmas, where the cheap, damaged, and flawed players become available.
Dec 1: D-Day. The collective bargaining agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. ET on December 1. Calling this the most important day of the off-season is not overstating it. If both sides don’t agree to a new agreement, chances are high that negotiations will linger all off-season and baseball will have its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike.
Dec. 6-9: Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida.
Dec. 9: Rule 5 Draft. Players selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on their new team’s major league roster all season in 2022, otherwise they must go through waivers and be offered back to their original team. Most players wind up back with their original team or, somehow, on the Rangers.
Jan. 14: Deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures. The player files what he believes he should be paid in 2022. The team counters with that they believe the player should be paid in 2022. If both sides don’t eventually come to an agreement it goes to an Arbiter to pick which of the two numbers the player will get paid.
Jan. 20: 2022 Hall of Fame class announced.
Jan. 31 to Feb. 18: Arbitration hearings.
Mid-February: Spring training camps open across Florida and Arizona, assuming there is a new deal in place. The chances of the Rangers winning a World Series in the next five years are much higher than spring training actually happening on time.
March 31: Opening Day 2022. Maybe.
April 1: Rangers eliminated from the 2022 playoffs.