These are some of the most important dates to know for the upcoming MLB offseason.
First day after WS ends: Trades are allowed once again and all pending free agents officially file for free agency. There’s a five day window where players are only allowed to negotiate with their team from 2021.
Fifth day after WS ends: This is when free agency officially begins. Players and teams can talk to anyone they want and deals are able to be signed. Although signings rarely experience the kind of rush normally seen in NFL or NBA free agency. Player, club, and mutual option decisions must be made.
Also, on this day, teams must decide if they will give Qualifying Offers to pending free agents. Ten days after that, players must make the decision whether to accept or reject the QO.
November 19th: This date is the deadline for players to be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft at the end of the Winter Meetings. We’ll go into more of the candidates to be added later in the article.
December 1st: This is the biggest day in the baseball offseason calendar this year. This is the non-tender deadline, when teams have to make decisions on whether to tender their arbitration-eligible players a contract for next year. Anyone not tendered immediately becomes a free agent. But there’s another reason this day is key.
December 1st is the day the current CBA expires. If the players’ union and MLB can’t agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the end of the day, a lockout or strike could be instituted. That would mean a potential halt to all offseason activities and an ugly labor battle. Negotiations would continue until a deal is made, and when a deal happens, whether on December 1st or later, some changes could happen to baseball.
We could see a DH come to the NL next year, we could see changes to arbitration, roster rules, and payroll rules. Hopefully, for the sake of baseball, they can reach a deal by this day.
December 5-9: Provided MLB doesn’t institute a lockout and put a freeze on all offseason activity and cancel them, the Winter Meetings will take place on these dates in Nashville, TN. These meetings are generally chock full of trades and free agent signings, and hopefully we’ll see how teams are reacting to changes in the newly agreed upon CBA.
December 9th: On the final day of the Winter Meetings is the annual Rule 5 Draft. This draft is where teams can select players from other teams’ minor league systems and put them on their own big league roster for a small fee. For the Brewers, this will be more likely about not losing any prospects to other teams rather than selecting someone.
January 14th, 2022: For all the remaining arbitration-eligible players who have not agreed to a salary for the 2021 season, this is the day they will exchange salary figures with the team and file for their preferred salary.
Now let’s take a closer look at free agency!