Major League Baseball’s playoffs will fill the calendar during the month of October, with the World Series set to end between November 1 and November 4, 2023. Here are the key dates to remember as teams negotiate their way through the off season calendar.
Free agency begins immediately after the World Series for players with six years of MLB service time who are not under contract. They can begin negotiating with teams, but can not sign with a new club until five days after the World Series.
Tigers free agents include Jose Cisnero and Matthew Boyd. They have already released would be free agents Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Schoop, and traded Michael Lorenzen. Both Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez will have the option to opt-out of their contracts and elect free agency, though only Rodriguez is expected to do so.
Minor League Free agents: The team could add any players eligible for minor league free agency to the roster at this time. Players with six years of service in the minor leagues can opt for free agency if they are not on the 40 man roster. They won’t be part of the Rule 5 draft. These players could also be signed to minor league contracts and remain in the organization.
Player and club options: Unless a player’s contract specifically states otherwise, contract options are generally exercised by five days after the World Series. Javier Baez is expected to opt in for the final four years, $98 million of his six year contract, and Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to opt out of the final three years and $49 million of his five year deal. The Tigers will buy out Miguel Cabrera’s option for $8 million and he will retire as planned.
The Tigers hold a club option on backup catcher Carson Kelly for $3.5 million for the 2024 season. Kelly made $4.25 million in 2023, with the Tigers paying only a pro rated portion of the major league minimum salary and the Arizona Diamondbacks paying the rest. Detroit signed him after he was released by Arizona, and the club option would be for a lower salary than he could get in his final season of arbitration. Kelly was adequate defensively, but slashed just .206/.278/.287 between the two teams. He is also out of options.
5 days after World Series, 5 PM EST — Last day for club to make a qualifying offer to an eligible former player who became a free agent in order to receive free agent compensation. The Tigers won’t be making any qualifying offers this season. If Eduardo Rodriguez does opt out of his contract, he is not eligible for a QO because he was previously given such an offer when he left the Boston Red Sox.
Nov 7-9, 2023 — General managers meetings, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Nov. 14, 2023, 4 PM EST- Last day for players to accept or reject qualifying offers before becoming free agents, subject to compensation.
Nov. 15, 2023- Teams must submit reserve lists of players on rosters who will be protected from the Rule 5 draft, to be held at the Winter Meetings on December 6. This date is BIG, with plenty of roster movement, with players being added and removed from the 40 man roster.
Last year, the Tigers cut five players: Miguel Diaz, Kyle Funkhouser, Sean Guenther, Michael Papierski, and Brendan Davis. They added five prospects who would have been Rule 5 eligible: Parker Meadows, Reese Olson, Andre Lipcius, Brendan White, and Wenceel Perez. Four of the five were called up to Detroit during the 2023 season. BYB will have more coverage of the prospect promotions as the date approaches.
Nov. 17 — Last day for teams to offer 2024 contracts to (arbitration eligible) unsigned players on their 40-man rosters. This is also called the “non tender deadline”. Eight Detroit players are eligible for arbitration. Expect Austin Meadows and maybe one or two others to be non tendered.
Dec. 3 — Hall of Fame Contemporary Baseball/Managers-Umpires-Executives Committee vote announced, Nashville, Tennessee. Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, and Curt Schilling are the candidates.
Dec. 3-6 — Winter meetings, Nashville, Tennessee.
Dec. 5 — 2024 amateur draft lottery, Nashville, Tennessee. The Tigers had the 11th worst record in MLB last season, which leaves them with a 1.4 percent chance of getting the first overall pick in the 2024 draft. The actual draft isn’t until July, but you can run simulations here just for fun.
Dec. 6 —Rule 5 draft, Nashville, Tennessee. BYB will have coverage of the Tigers eligible.
Dec. 15 — International signing period closes, 5 p.m. EST.
Jan. 12 — Salary arbitration figures exchanged. BYB posted the projected salaries of eight players who could be eligible for arbitration here.
Jan. 15 — International signing period opens, 9 a.m. EST.
Jan. 29-Feb.16 — Salary arbitration hearings, Scottsdale, Arizona. A panel of three arbitrators will hear any cases where clubs and players did not come to terms on a contract for the 2024 season. Pitchers generally go first.
February 14, 2024: Pitchers and Catchers report to spring training for many clubs.
February 24, 2014- Tigers vs Yankees, Grapefruit league exhibition season begins
March 28, 2024- Opening day! Tigers at Chicago White sox
April 5, 2024- Tigers’ home opener vs Oakland A’s at Comerica park
Players out of options: The following players who are on the 40 man roster have used up their quota of options and can not be sent to the minor leagues without clearing waivers.
Some of these players were claimed on waivers by Detroit. They would be invited to spring training, but if they don’t make the team, they would have to be taken off the 40 man roster, clear waivers and be sent outright to the minor leagues. The club could decide that they can use the roster spot to activate a player from the 60 day injured list, or add a prospect who needs to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
Payroll scenario: If all goes as expected, Miguel Cabrera retires, Baez opts in and E Rod opts out, Boyd, Lorenzen, and Schoop are gone, and Meadows is non tendered. That leaves Kelly as the second highest paid player on the team. Should his option be declined, Turnbull would have the second highest salary, and would be the oldest player on the team.
The next highest paid players from the 2023 roster are Cisnero, who is a free agent, Turnbull, Alexander, Shreve, who is a free agent, and Wingenter, who is on the arbitration bubble. No other Tiger earned more than $1 million in ‘23, although Skubal and members of the next arbitration class will in 2024.