The Detroit Tigers have just completed the second-worst season in their 119-year history, which means that they have a lot of work to do to regain respect among their fans and observers. That work begins this offseason.
Here are some important dates to remember before Opening Day 2020.
Sept. 29, 2019: Regular season concludes.
October 3, 2019: The MLB Playoffs begin. Opening round division series will include the New York Yankees vs. the Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros hosting the AL Wild Card winner. The Atlanta Braves will play the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Dodgers will play the NL Wild Card winner.
October 20, 2019: The World Series begins. The series will conclude no later than October 28.
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 2020 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.
The Tigers’ free agents include Jordy Mercer, Tyson Ross, Matt Moore, Edwin Jackson, and Gordon Beckham. Nicholas Castellanos was traded in July, and Josh Harrison was previously released. Without those players, the Tigers’ roster will have 41 players, including those on injured lists.
At the same time: Teams are required to move all players on the 60-day injured list to the active roster. There are six Tigers on the 60 day IL. Ross and Moore will be free agents. JaCoby Jones and Michael Fulmer will be activated. Blaine Hardy and Daniel Stumpf must be activated or released.
A number of minor leaguers will become free agents at this time also. Keep an eye on Anthony Castro and Jose Azocar, who are playing in the Arizona Fall League. If not added to the roster, they will be free agents, never making it to the Rule 5 draft.
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.
Teams have five days after the World Series to exercise any club options for the next season, or to make a qualifying offer of $18.3+ million for the 2020 season to their own potential free agents if the team is going to receive any compensation should those players sign with another team. Players have an additional 10 days to accept or decline qualifying offers. The Tigers will not be making any such offers, and have no options to exercise.
November 3-14, 2019: The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) will announce the finalists and then the winners the the Rookies and Managers of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player Awards. No Tigers are in the conversation this year.
November 11-14, 2019: General managers meetings take place in Scottsdale, Ariz.
November 19-21, 2019: Owners’ meetings in Arlington, Tex. Any changes to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would be ratified at this time.
November 20, 2019 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 2016 draft, or those drafted out of high school or signed as international free agents under the age of 19 in 2015, are eligible.
Every player added will need a spot on the team’s 40-man roster, which means that roster cuts will be made to make room. Teams also need an open spot on their 40-man roster if they are going to select a player in the Rule 5 draft. The Tigers have the first overall pick. Bless You Boys will have full coverage as decision day approaches.
December 2, 2019: Clubs must tender contract offers to players on their rosters who are not under contract for the 2020 season, or they will become free agents. James McCann was non-tendered at this time a year ago. Possible non-tenders for the Tigers this year could include Daniel Stumpf, Blaine Hardy, John Hicks, and Drew VerHagen, 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 9-12, 2019: Winter Meetings in San Diego, Calif.
December 12, 2019: The Rule 5 draft will take place on the final day of the Winter Meetings. The Tigers have the first pick, provided that they have an open spot on their 40-man roster.
January 10, 2020: Clubs and arbitration-eligible players must exchange salary figures. Matt Boyd, Daniel Norris, Michael Fulmer, Buck Farmer, Blaine Hardy, Drew VerHagen, JaCoby Jones, John Hicks, and Daniel Stumpf are eligible for arbitration, if they are tendered a contract before the Winter Meetings.
January 21, 2020: Hall of Fame voting results will be announced by the BBWAA.
February 1- 20, 2020: Arbitration hearings will be held for those eligible players who do not come to terms with their clubs before their hearing date.
mid-February, 2020: Pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
February 21, 2020: Spring training games begin with the Tigers hosting Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. The Tigers’ entire 2020 spring training schedule is here.
March 26, 2020: The regular season begins! The Tigers open with a three-game series at Cleveland.
March 30, 2020: Opening Day! The Tigers’ home opener is against the Kansas City Royals.
June TBD, 2020: Amateur player draft. The Tigers have the first overall selection.
Also of interest:
There are six to eight Tigers prospects who figure to be added to the 40 man roster by November 20, either to protect them from the Rule 5 draft in December, or from becoming minor league free agents. This means that a number of players who were Tigers in 2019 will be removed from the roster to make room.
Players who will be out of options in 2020 include John Hicks, Drew VerHagen, Dawel Lugo, Jeimer Candelario, Buck Farmer, Jose Cisnero, and Victor Alcantara.
The Tigers have several players of marginal value that could clear waivers and be released or outrighted to the minor leagues. Let the rosterbation begin!