Offseason Dates Moved Up

On Thursday, ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the players' union and MLB "reached an agreement to lengthen the offseason negotiating periods for free agents by moving up the annual filing, arbitration and tender dates, starting immediately after this season."  Today, MLBTR has learned the details, including the new 2010 deadlines.

  • Instead of the typical 15-day free agent filing period following the World Series, it will be five days.
  • Typically the deadline for a team to offer arbitration to its own free agents has been December 1st; it's now November 23rd.
  • December 7th has been the deadline for free agents to accept or decline arbitration offers from their old teams; it's now November 30th.
  • December 12th has been the non-tender deadline; it's now December 2nd.
  • The above dates are confirmed.  On the unconfirmed side, there is word that the Rule 5 draft may be moved to November 20th.  The Rule 5 draft typically marks the end of the Winter Meetings, but that gathering takes place from December 6-9 this year in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
  • The goal here, according to Stark, is to lengthen the offseason free agent negotiating period, resulting in fewer unsigned players in February and March.

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10 Comments on "Offseason Dates Moved Up"

4 years 11 months ago

Does extending the offseason mean that more players will sign, or that it will just take longer for them to sign? There are only so many major league spots to go around… I can’t see this making too much of an impact.

I also think it would be odd for the Rule 5 to be moved in front of the 12/1 arbitration deadline.

4 years 11 months ago

This won’t jumpstart the off-season they way MLB and the union think it will. It just gives the agents more time for posturing. A player is going to want multiple bidders, so all this does is give him more time to line those up. This is likely an over-reaction to guys like Jermaine Dye and Jarrod Washburn not getting contracts this past winter. The “normal” free agent pool is pretty thin after the top names (Crawford, Werth, Dunn, Lee, etc.) It will be flooded with even more mediocrity after the non-tender deadline; I can easily see another 50 guys being let go. The only way to speed up the process is to have a deadline by which teams have to sign free agents or else all they can dish out are minor league contracts, and that those players can’t be added to the major league roster until one month into the season. That forces both sides to make concessions and get things moving along quicker.

Moving the Rule 5 Draft before the non-tender deadline would create a problem in speeding up the free agent signings, as teams would have an additional spot filled on their 40-man roster that much earlier. They would have to weigh holding onto experienced talent against taking a chance on a potential long-term piece to their puzzle.

4 years 11 months ago

The Rule 5 draft (traditionally last day of winter meetings) has always been held a few days prior to the non tender deadline (formerly Dec 12), but I agree with the premise of your post on the motives for these dates being moved up. I think it’s still good, because there has been a sort of useless dead period between the end of the season and the date to offer arbitration, which often delays some signings as clubs wait to see if they can avoid paying the compensation. That process will be sped up now. Clubs can still release players that they plan on non tendering before the Rule 5 draft in order to make room on the roster to protect a younger player, rather than waiting for the non tender date (actually the tender date, as a non tender is a non action).

I would not agree with a deadline on signing free agents. I don’t agree with interfering in the ability of parties to contract. Clubs do as much posturing as agents, IMO, and sometimes in a very collusive fashion.

One thing they need to get rid of is the requirement to pay compensation for Type A free agents that aren’t really Type A talent. A top reliever simply is not as valuable as a top starting pitcher, or a top outfielder. They need to equate the compensation with the true value of the players being signed and the way to do that is to rank them according to how much money they get paid per season. There isn’t a truer indication of a player’s value than that!

4 years 11 months ago

I think this was meant for the guys not being tendered new contracts. It would allow them to enter the free agent market earlier and be able to compete for jobs with other teams before they decided to go after the unrestricted free agents first.

4 years 11 months ago

so what day can guys like crawford and dunn sign ??

4 years 11 months ago

They can file and sign on November 23, but their new clubs will forfeit the compensation picks automatically if they sign before their former clubs have an opportunity to offer them arbitration. In the case of those two, and Werth, I think we can assume that arbitration will be offered, so there’s probably no detriment to striking early.

4 years 11 months ago

This is GREAT news – for MLBTR revenue.

4 years 11 months ago

Baseballdude: Once the World Series ends, potential free agents have 5 days to file for free agency. Once the 5 days are up, it’s open season on free agents. So a free agent could conceivably sign before the end of October if it’s a short World Series. However, that probably won’t happen with the big-name free agents until after they are/aren’t offered arbitration by their former clubs; that determines whether or not a signing team has to give up a first or second round pick in the amateur draft the following season. That date is now November 23, and those players have up until November 30 to accept or decline those offers if they are made. So my guess is we won’t see any of the big names sign until the first week of December at the earliest.

4 years 11 months ago

Players and Pitchers should be allowed to file right after the season ends for non Playoff Teams.

4 years 11 months ago

They don’t want any distractions during the World Series and playoffs. There’s an unwritten rule about not processing any trades during that period also. All you might read about at that time is someone’s option being picked up or declined.