The 2018 season came to a satisfying close last night as Steve Pearce and David Price delivered the knockout punches to Clayton Kershaw and the NL Champion Dodgers. The 2018 Red Sox add to a remarkable run of champions from this century of baseball: from Bob Brenly’s Diamondbacks toppling the Yankee dynasty on Luis Gonzalez’s floater (2001), to the every-other-year dominance of Buster Posey’s Giants (2010, 2012, 2014), to the improbably-long World Series droughts ended by the Boston Red Sox (2004), Chicago White Sox (2005) and Chicago Cubs (2016); the losingest franchise in history won a title (Phillies, 2008), and we even saw a small-market cinderella sneak one past the powerhouses (Royals, 2015). But the most impressive feat of the 21st century might be the remarkable turnaround in Boston since John Henry’s ownership group took over in 2002. The perennially-underdog Red Sox have morphed into a certified juggernaut with World Series victories in 2004, 2007, 2013, and now: 2018.
Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox deserve a ton of credit for using every avenue of team building available to them in putting together this World Series roster. They formed an incredible nucleus of homegrown offensive talent, namely: 7th overall selection in the 2015 draft Andrew Benintendi, 40th overall selection in the 2011 draft Jackie Bradley Jr., and likely AL MVP Mookie Betts, who was a 5th round selection in 2011. Postseason stalwart Rafael Devers was signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic, as was Xander Bogaerts, who signed out of Aruba. David Price was their big free agent signing of the 2015 season, while Chris Sale came to Boston from Chicago for a quartet of minor leaguers. Even this season, en route to a franchise-record 108 wins, Boston never rested on its laurels, bolstering its roster with the mid-season acquisitions of Nathan Eovaldi and World Series MVP Steve Pearce.
Amazingly, Bogaerts was the only active player on both the 2013 and 2018 World Series rosters, so while congratulations are in store for the Boston Red Sox, Dombrowski and company won’t have long to relish in their newest conquest. Baseball’s other 29 teams won’t allow it. Campaigns to thwart a repeat in Boston launch around baseball today as the focus turns to 2019 and dreams of future champions. As the offseason kicks off, here are a few key dates to keep in mind…
- Oct. 29: Commencement of a five-day, exclusive negotiation window that teams have with their own free agents
- Oct. 31: Deadline for players with opt-out clauses (most notably, Clayton Kershaw) to exercise those provisions.
- Nov. 2*: The deadline for MLB clubs to formally issue one-year qualifying offers (valued at $17.9MM this offseason) to free agents is 5:00pm ET. Those players will have 10 days to weigh the offers and can negotiate with other clubs during that 10-day window. After that 5pm deadline, all free agents are eligible to begin negotiating with other teams.
- Nov. 6-8: General Managers’ meetings in Carlsbad, CA
- Nov. 12: Deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers.
- Nov. 20: Deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.
- Nov. 30: Deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.
- Dec. 9-13: Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
- Dec. 13: Rule 5 draft takes place on the final day of the Winter Meetings.
- Jan. 11: Arbitration exchange day — the date on which teams and players must exchange filing numbers for arbitration. Hearings, if necessary, typically begin in early February.
- March 28, 2019: Opening Day! Baseball is back.
Names like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel and Andrew Miller headline the 2018-19 class of MLB free agents. We’ll be running our Top 50 Free Agent rankings, which will include contract projections and predictions as to where each of the 50 will sign. For now, get yourself acquainted with the free agent possibilities by following our 2018-19 Market Snapshot Series.
Keep an eye out for the remainder of MLBTR’s Offseason Outlook series as we preview the decisions that each of the league’s 30 teams will face over the winter and some of the routes they could take to Opening Day 2019. No matter who or how you follow, we at MLBTR will be here every step of the way to walk you through another exciting hot stove season, so stick with us as we prepare for a frenetic few months of offseason activity!
*The original version of this post mistakenly stated the qualifying offer issue/decision dates as November 3rd and 13th.