As you may recall, five days after the conclusion of the World Series is the first important line of demarcation in the offseason. And that’s today.
So, what does that mean for today? Well:
- It is the deadline for teams and players to decide on club, player, and mutual options. As you’ve seen, many of those decisions have already been announced in advance of tonight’s deadline, and I’ll run down the ones of possible interest later today.
- More notably, today is the day we’ll learn which free agents will receive qualifying offers – a one-year, $15.8 million offer for 2016 that, if declined, means the next team signing that player will have to give up a draft pick to do so. Given the size and impressiveness of the free agent class, you can expect a huge number of free agents to receive qualifying offers today, including Dexter Fowler. Players have one week to decide on whether to accept the qualifying offer. No player has accepted one yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens this year. The deadline for making the offer is 4pm CT today.
- Then, as of midnight eastern tonight, players may sign with new teams. Don’t expect a flurry of signings, though, like in some other sports. Free agency in baseball tends to be a slow burn. But it kicks off in earnest tonight.
- With last night’s trade between the Rays and Mariners, you are reminded that sometimes these impending deadlines kick off trade activity, so that’s something else to be on the lookout for today.