Among the lesser changes in the 2012 iteration of the CBA, players eligible for free agency now automatically become free agents upon the conclusion of the World Series. The series having ended last night, free agency is officially upon us.
Players are not eligible to sign with new teams for five days, however, so don’t expect any huge signings immediately.
For the Cubs, this all means that Scott Baker, Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier, and Dioner Navarro are now free agents. The Cubs and Scott Baker have mutually expressed interest in a return, and Matt Guerrier could come back on a minor league deal depending on how his surgery recovery is going. Kevin Gregg is not expected back, and Dioner Navarro will likely first seek out a starting job before considering a return to the Cubs as a back-up.
The other impact for the Cubs, obviously, is their ability to talk to free agents departing other teams. Although they cannot be signed for five more days, and, in many cases, won’t sign for weeks or months, the laying of formal groundwork can begin. Typically, you don’t see heavy signing action until late-November/early-December (accellerated somewhat by the earlier qualifying offer decision deadline (mid-November), but there is movement throughout the offseason.
I’ll soon offer a more comprehensive offseason timeline, but, for today, you need know only that “the offseason” has arrived in earnest. And you’re free to start speculating away to your heart’s content about all the players the Cubs will magically discover the funding to sign.