The off-season calendar officially begins on Thursday November 3rd. Below are some important dates for your off-season calendar:
- November 7th: 5 days after the World Series ends at 5pm EST sets the deadline for teams to make their QO’s (Qualified Offer) to pending free agents and this is optional for teams to offer
- November 7-10: GM’s meetings are a month before the Winter Meetings. This year they are in Scottsdale, Arizona
- November 14th: 12 days after the World Series ends sets the deadline for Free Agents to accept or reject their QO’s. Players that reject their QO’s automatically become Free Agents
- November 16-17: MLB Owners Meeting in Chicago, IL
- November 19th: The Arizona Fall League finishes with their championship game
- November 20th: Rule 5 draft reserve lists submitted
- December 1st: Current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires
- December 2nd: Last day for teams to tender 2017 contracts to unsigned players who are not signed to set contracts and this includes arbitration eligible players also.
- December 4-8: Winter Meetings (National Harbor, Maryland) This is now a televised event and is getting more dramatic each year. Your guide is here.
- December 9th: Rule 5 draft
- January 2017: 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 2017: 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 two sides actually go to the arbitration hearing in February, the arbitrator can only choose one of the submitted amounts as there is no meeting in the middle once the arbitration begins. Generally the two 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 did in 2015
- February 24th: Spring Training games begin
- March 9-22: World Baseball Classic schedule TBD and link here.
- March 15th: Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days
- March 29th: Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2016 salary
- April 2nd: Opening day. Active rosters reduced to 25 players.
As we get closer to each date above, we will have dedicated articles 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: http://bbwaa.com/14-nl-mvp/ Many Nats will receive votes like Max Scherzer in the Cy Young however we only expect 1 winner and Daniel Murphy will receive MVP votes, and Trea Turner will receive ROY votes. There are other awards such as the Gold Glove and Silver Sluggers that aren’t part of the BBWAA voting. The only National nominated for a Gold Glove is Anthony Rendon.
Nats specific dates include the Nationals Winterfest at the DC Convention Center on
December 10-11 and is the second year of this new 2-day format held in December instead of January. What is most interesting about the timing is that Winterfest begins 1 day after the Winter Meetings ends. 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!
The Nationals Spring Training calendar is filling in as many teams are releasing their dates. The plan is that the new West Palm Beach spring training facility will be ready on time in early February and completed in time for the first official games. Keep in mind the Spring Training games will start the last week of February on approximately February 24th due to the World Baseball Classic schedule. So far we have Feb 26 – Nats at Twins, Mar 5 – Twins at Nats.
The first game on the main field at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is set for February 28th.
— Spring Training (@STOnline) November 1, 2016
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 27, 2016