The QO (Qualified Offer) & The Off-Season Calendar including MASN Lawsuit

After the World Series, the off-season calendar officially begins.  Below is the MLB calendar and below that is the awards schedule, some more Nats specific dates and a discussion of the QO status, the MASN dispute, the managerial search, and a Scott Boras interview.

  • November: 5 days after the World Series ends sets the deadline for teams to make their QO’s (Qualified Offer) to pending free agents and this is optional for teams to offer (see below)
  • November 9-12: GM’s meetings are a month before the Winter Meetings  (Boca Raton, Florida)
  • November: 12 days after World Series ends sets the deadline for Free Agents to accept their QO’s (see below)
  • November 13-19: There is no specific dates for the roster shuffle and non-tender cuts; however, teams make room to add potential Rule 5 eligible players to the 40 man roster and cut other players to make room and sometimes early trades are made
  • November 20: Rule 5 draft reserve lists submitted
  • December 7-10: Winter Meetings (Nashville, Tennessee) This is now a televised event and is getting more dramatic each year.
  • December 10: Rule 5 draft
  • January 12: Salary arbitration filings are made but does not guarantee it will lead to a formal arbitration hearing as players can sign any time leading up to the arbitration hearing
  • January 15:  This is the day set for any player filing for salary arbitration to formally submit their demand amount and the team will submit their offer amount. Should the 2 sides actually go to the arbitration hearing in February, the arbitrator can only choose 1 of the submitted amounts as there is no meeting in the middle once the arbitration begins. Generally the 2 sides negotiate their own resolution prior to the formal arbitration.
  • February 1st-21st: These are tentative dates reserved for salary arbitration hearings if they are needed for any players who choose that route like Jerry Blevins in 2015.

As we get closer to each date above, we will have dedicated stories for each.

Throughout November the BBWAA releases the Award Winners in the ROY, MOY, Cy Young and MVP voting.  This is what the ballot looks like:  Many Nats will receive votes like Max Scherzer in the Cy Young however we only expect 1 winner and that is Bryce Harper as MVP.  There are other awards such as the Gold Glove and Silver Sluggers that aren’t part of the BBWAA voting.

Nats specific dates include the Nationals Winterfest at the DC Convention Center on
December 12-13 and is the first year of this new 2-day format and it’s now held in December instead of January like prior years.  What is most interesting about the timing is that Winterfest begins 2 days after the Winter Meetings end. If the Nats sign any Free Agents or make some trades before or during the Winter Meetings, the players could be available at the Winterfest!

Pitchers and Catchers will report in mid-February 2016 (approximately 117 days from now)

April 4, 2016 is Opening Day and this year will be on the road in Atlanta which is already projected as Shelby Miller and Max Scherzer as the matchup.  After 2 games in Atlanta, the Nats will head home to face the Miami Marlins on Thursday April 7th.

Clearly no specific dates set for the Nats to name their Manager or Coaching staff, and many times teams wait to formally announce these after the World Series.

This will be the 4th offseason of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), none of the 34 qualifying offers made to MLB players have been accepted in the first 3 years of the QO system.  At $15.8 million this year, this could be the first-time we see a player accept a QO from their current team. Jon Heyman does not believe the Nats will offer Denard Span a QO, but the Nats will offer Jordan Zimmermann and Ian Desmond a QO and still to be determined if they will extend a QO to Doug Fister.

Ongoing is waiting for the New York Supreme Court Justice Lawrence. K. Marks to rule on the MASN resolution which appears to also be headed to no ruling until after the World Series. This needs to be resolved quickly and in-time for the Nats Free Agency shopping. Marks heard the last testimony on May 18, 2015 exactly 5 months ago. How long does it take make a decision?  It’s either yes or no.  Marks must decide to either set aside the decision himself to what was already set by an MLB arbitration panel which settles the dispute or decide to send it to a neutral arbitrator which is what Orioles owner Peter Angelos requested.

Three new factors that the arbitration panel must consider are the new rankings in DC wealth, TV households, and population size since the last rankings and census. The DC MSA has the 2nd highest household income in the country at $91,193, and the large increases in the DC population which has grown by 7.05% since the last census pushing the DC Metropolitan population to 6,033,737 and less than 18,000 residents short of Philadelphia which is the 6th largest US population.  The same goes for TV households where the DC area ranks 7th in the country at 2.44 million households which is within 41,000 of San Francisco NIELSEN TV HOUSEHOLDS 2015

In case you forgot, this was the amount the MLB arbitration panel awarded the Nats:

  • 2012: $53,170,018
  • 2013: $56,253,879
  • 2014: $59,347,843
  • 2015: $62,611,974
  • 2016: $66,744,364

What is somewhat shocking is that we are a year and a half from the start of the next 5 year reset to begin after the 2016 season to encompass 2017-2021, and the previous 5-year term is already 80% complete in terms of fulfillment of games plays with no resolution in sight.  We have no clue when and how they will begin to negotiate the next reset which should start as soon as the 2016 season ends, and the process will be very dependent on Judge Marks decision which should set the precedent going forward.

There are 3 milestones set to occur within the next 5 year reset period which begins with the Nats 2017 move to West Palm Beach for their new Spring Training home, then the Nats will host the 2018 All Star Game, and Bryce Harper is set to become a Free Agent after the end of the 2018 season.  An additional cash inflow could make it possible for Ted Lerner to make Bryce Harper the highest paid player in sports history and keep him in a Nats jersey for life as Bryce is “must see TV” and a one-man ratings bonanza.

Unrelated to Bryce Harper you can listen to his agent Scott Boras talk for 5 minutes discussing the Qualified Offer process, Free Agent process, negotiating and more………..

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