The off-season calendar is now set after the World Series ends!

Photo by Jeffery Salter

The off-season calendar officially began.  Below are some important dates for your off-season calendar which quickly begins with free agents declaring one day after the World Series ends. The Nationals have several free agents declaring led by Bryce Harper, Matt Wieters, Mark Reynolds, Tommy Milone, Greg Holland, Tim Collins, and Jeremy Hellickson. In the category of “we barely knew ya” are free agents Kelvin Herrera, Joaquin Benoit, and Carlos Torres. Of all of those players, only Harper will be given a Qualified Offer which will be rejected by Harper, and if he goes to another team would net the Nationals a draft pick after the 4th round.

If you want to track the free agents, the only Nats’ free agents to make the Top 10 list from MLB is Bryce Harper who is #2 on the list and ex-Nat, Wilson Ramos, is #10 on the list. Soon MLBTR and other sites like Jon Heyman’s Fancred will do their lists of free agents and rate them. 

Here’s your off-season calendar through Opening Day:

    • October 29th: The off-season begins and Free Agents can declare themselves for free agency at 9:00AM EDT. Teams now have 5 days to exclusively negotiate with their own free agents
    • November 2nd: This day is set for deadlines for players with options and opt-out clauses which will only affect Sean Doolittle for Mike Rizzo’s decision this year at 5:00pm EDT. There are other players who could have specific language contractually with other dates.
    • November 2nd: 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 and this year the QO is set at $17.9 million. Those players will have up to 10 days to either accept the QO or decline it. If they decline the QO, they become unrestricted free agents. Of note, during the 10 day window free agents can still negotiate with other teams before they formally decide to accept or reject the QO. At the 5pm deadline on this day, any free agent who did not receive a QO becomes an unrestricted free agent.
    • November 2nd: This day is set to activate all 60-day DL players who are eligible for the 40-man roster or waive those players. The Nationals only have Jhonotan Solano to make a decision on as Howie Kendrick was already activated and Joaquin Benoit chose free agency.
    • November 3rd: Free agents are allowed to sign with any team on this day
    • November 6th – 8th: GM Meetings begin in Carlsbad, California
    • November 8-15: Japan All-Star Baseball Tour which will feature Juan Soto as a participant
    • November 12th:  (pushed to Monday) 14 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 unrestricted Free Agents as mentioned above.
  • BBWAA Awards week:
    • Nov. 12, 2018: Rookies of the Year announced.
    • Nov. 13, 2018: Managers of the Year announced.
    • Nov. 14, 2018: Cy Young Awards announced.
    • Nov. 15, 2018: MVP Awards announced.
  • November 14-15: Owners’ Meetings
  • November 20th: Rule 5 draft reserve lists submitted of unprotected players by 8pm EDT
  • November 30th: Last day for teams to tender/non-tender 2019 contracts to unsigned players who are not signed to set contracts and this includes arbitration eligible players also. The Nationals have 7 players who are arbitration eligible and here they are with their projected arbitration values:  Anthony Rendon – $17.6MM, Tanner Roark – $9.8MM, Trea Turner – $5.3MM, Michael Taylor – $3.2MM. Kyle Barraclough — $1.9MM, Joe Ross – $1.5MM, and Sammy Solis – $900K
  • December 9-13th: Winter Meetings (Las Vegas, Nevada Mandalay Resort) This is now a televised event and is getting more dramatic each year. Your guide is here.
  • December 13th: Rule 5 draft 9am-11am
  • January 11, 2019: 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 2019:  There will be a deadline set in January for any players 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-20th: 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
  • Mid-February: Spring Training games begin
  • February 23rd: Spring Training Opening Day at the Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
  • March 15th:  Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days. On arbitration players, they can be released at one-sixth of their arbitration amount.
  • March 26th:  Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a a player who doesn’t have MLB options or a guaranteed contract without having to pay his full 2019 salary
  • March 28th 2019: Active rosters reduced to 25 players by 10:00AM.
  • March 28th 2019: Opening Day for the Washington Nationals at home against the New York Mets. Active rosters reduced to 25 players.

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

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 be up for awards like Max Scherzer in the Cy Young, and Juan Soto  in the Rookie of the Year.  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 Nationals Park on December 1-2 and is the fourth year of this 2-day format.

The Nationals Spring Training calendar is filling in as many teams are releasing their dates. The Nationals calendar is here and enjoy the additional upgrades at The FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

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