Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has his work cut out for him as he continues the Tigers’ full scale rebuilding project over the offseason. Here are the important dates and events to keep in mind before the 2018 MLB season begins.
October 24, 2017: The World Series begins. The series will conclude between October 28 and November 1.
The day after the conclusion of the World Series, all players with at least six years of service time who are not under contract for the 2018 season will become free agents. Minor league players with six years of service will become minor league free agents if not added to a 40-man roster. For five days following the World Series, there is a “quiet period” when clubs can talk to free agents, but may not sign free agents from other clubs until the quiet period has expired.
The Tigers have no expiring major league contracts other than those players with club options for next season, but there may be some minor leaguers added to the roster. Myles Jaye and Chad Bell were added at this time a year ago.
Five days after the conclusion of the world series, clubs must make decisions on players who have a team option for 2018. Ian Kinsler’s option vested for $11 million with 600 plate appearances during the 2017 season. The Tigers will surely decline the $16 million option on Anibal Sanchez and pay him a $5 million buyout, making him a free agent.
Qualifying offers: Teams also have five days to make a qualifying offer of $17.4 million for the 2018 season to their own potential free agents if they are going to receive any compensation should they sign with another team. Since the Tigers do not have any potential free agents, there are no qualifying offers to be made.
November 6- 17, 2017: The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the finalists and winners of the Gold Glove Awards, Silver Sluggers, Most Valuable Player, Rookies and Managers of the Year. Ian Kinsler is a likely nominee for a Gold Glove. The full awards schedule is here.
November 13-16, 2017: General managers meetings take place in Orlando, Florida.
November 20 is the deadline for clubs to turn in their 40-man reserve lists with the names of players who will be protected in the Rule 5 draft. Players who were drafted out of college in the 2014 draft, or those drafted out of high school or signed as international free agents under the age of 19 in 2013 are eligible. Michael Gerber and Grayson Greiner head the Tigers’ class of Rule 5 eligible players this season. BYB will have full coverage as decision day approaches.
December 1, 2017: Clubs must tender contract offers to players on their rosters who are not under contract for the 2018 season. Possible non-tenders for the Tigers could include Bruce Rondon, Alex Presley, and Andrew Romine, who are all eligible for arbitration. The club may attempt to reach agreement on a contract for these players before heading down the arbitration path.
December 10- 14, 2017; The MLB Winter Meetings will take place in Orlando, Florida.
December 14, 2017: The Rule 5 draft will take place starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
January 12, 2018: Clubs and players must exchange arbitration figures. In addition to Rondon, Presley and Romine, the Tigers’ arbitration eligible players include Jose Iglesias (3rd time eligible), Nicholas Castellanos and Alex Wilson (2nd), and first time eligibles James McCann and Shane Greene.
February 1- 20, 2018: Arbitration hearings will be held for those eligible players who do not come to terms with their clubs before their hearing date.
February 14, 2018: Pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
February 22, 2018: Spring training games begin with the Tigers taking on Florida Southern.
March 29, 2018: Opening Day! Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit.
Other important stuff:
Players on the 60 day disabled list will have to be activated within five days after the end of the World Series, requiring room on the 40-man roster. Victor Martinez is the only Tigers’ player in this category, and he could be released, or a decision will have to be made to create room.
Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, and Andrew Romine are the three Tigers’ players who are under club control for just one more season before being eligible for free agency, which makes them the most likely players to be moved during the off season.
There are no trade restrictions during the offseason, other than those written into individual player contracts or those players who have accrued 5 and 10 rights.
The Tigers have no shortage of players who have marginal value to a major league club that could be released or out-righted to the minor leagues. Several of them have already run that gauntlet. The 2018 Tigers roster promises to look quite a bit different than it looks at the end of the 2017 season.