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MLB off season calendar; free agents, rule 5, awards, arbitration, and more

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Oh, and CBA talks that could throw a spanner in the works

Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers took a big step toward respectability in 2021. The coming off season promises to be active for the club as they continue their return toward contending in 2022. With all eyes on the free agent market, possible trades, arbitration eligible players and non tenders, MLB players and owners are meeting behind closed doors at secret locations to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to replace the current deal that is due to expire on December 1st, 2021.

CBA talks are expected to be contentious, with a players’ grievance against MLB over the shortening of the schedule in 2020 is concurrently in process. MLB could put a moratorium on all player signings while the owners seek leverage in the talks, or uncertainty could bring the market to a halt on it’s own. There is precedent for both freezing and continuing player signings even after the CBA expires. Free agent signings continued during the last work stoppage in 1994.

Here are some important dates to remember before Opening Day 2022:

FREE AGENCY BEGINS

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 2022 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 Jose Urena, Julio Teheran, Wily Peralta, and Derek Holland. The team traded Daniel Norris and released Wilson Ramos and Nomar Mazara, who would have been free agents, during the season. Jonathan Schoop was signed to a two year contract extension to avoid free agency.

At the same time: Teams are required to move all players on the 60-day injured list to the active roster. There are four Tigers on the 60 day IL. Teheran will be a free agent. Jake Rogers and Spencer Turnbull will be activated until the spring, then return to the IL. Rony Garcia must be activated, outrighted or released.

A number of minor leaguers will become free agents at this time also. If not added to the roster, they will be free agents, never making it to the Rule 5 draft. Christin Stewart, Aderlin Rodriguez, Elvin Rodriguez and Wilkel Hernandez are on this list.

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 also have five days after the World Series to exercise any club options for the next season, or to make a qualifying offer of $18.4 million for the 2022 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 qualifying offers, and have no options to exercise, but a number of players that the club may be looking to sign will receive offers, meaning that the Tigers will give up their third highest draft pick in 2022- a round B selection after the second round- if the current rules remain in effect.

RULE 5

November 19, 2021 is the deadline for clubs to submit their 40-man reserve lists of players who will be protected in the Rule 5 draft. Players who were drafted out of college in the 2018 draft, or those drafted out of high school or signed as international free agents under the age of 19 in 2017, 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. BYB will have a breakdown of the players who might be added to the roster.

December 9, 2021; The rule 5 draft is held on the last day of the winter meetings.

ARBITRATION

December 1, 2021: 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.

  • Jeimer Candelario, Jose Cisnero, and Spencer Turnbull are virtually assured of receiving a contract offe
  • Matthew Boyd is likely to be non tendered unless a contract is worked out before this date.
  • Other possible non-tenders:Niko Goodrum, Victor Reyes, Harold Castro, Ian Krol, Drew Hutchinson, Joe Jimenez, Dustin Garneau, Gayson Greiner, and Michael Fulmer, who are all eligible for arbitration.

Many will receive offers, making them eligible for arbitration. The club may attempt to reach agreement on a contract for these players before heading down the arbitration path.

January 14, 2022: Clubs and arbitration-eligible players must exchange salary figures if they are tendered a contract before the Winter Meetings.

February 1- 20, 2022 (approximately): Arbitration hearings will be held for those eligible players who do not come to terms with their clubs before their hearing date.

WINTER MEETINGS

December 5- 9, 2021: Winter Meetings are scheduled to be held in Orlando. Florida.

December 9, 2021: On the last day of the Winter Meetings, the Rule 5 Draft will take place. Players selected must remain on the major league roster all season, or be be put on waivers and offered back to their original team.

AWARDS

November 1- 5 (depending when the World Series ends): BBWAA awards finalists will be revealed on MLB Network live at 6 p.m. Baseball’s four major awards including Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player will be awarded in both the National and American leagues. Three finalists are announced for each award in alphabetical order with the winners announced the following week.

November 2: Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners at each position in both the NL and AL are announced live on ESPN. Finalists at each position were announced in mid-October.

November 3: Wilson Defensive Players of the Year will be announced for each position regardless of league affiliation on MLB Network. Using advanced metrics rather than a vote of managers and coaches, the awards recognize the top defenders at their positions as well as an overall best defensive player as well as the top defensive team in baseball.

November 4: Louisville Silver Slugger Awards are announced at each position on the MLB Network at 6 p.m, ET.

November 8: Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners for both leagues will be announced on the MLB Network.

November 9: Manager of the Year awards will be announced for the National League and American League on the MLB Network.

November 10: Announcement of the American and National league Cy Young Awards.

November 10: MLB free agents who received qualifying offers from their teams must declare whether they accept or reject the offers.

November 11: Most Valuable Player awards for both leagues will be announced on the MLB Network.

November 15: Hall of Fame ballot players’ names will be released. Voting takes place through December 31.

January 21, 2022: Hall of Fame voting results will be announced by the BBWAA.

PLAY BALL

February 14, 2022 (approximately) Pitchers and catchers report to spring training, all players to follow shortly thereafter.

February 26, 2022: Spring training games begin with the Tigers hosting the Washington Nationals in Lakeland.

March 31, 2022: Barring a lockout or a players’ strike, the 2022 baseball season begins, with the Tigers begin the season on the west coast against the Seattle Mariners.

April 8, 2022: Opening day! The Tigers host the Chicago White Sox at Comerica park.