Dates to know

Dave · November 9, 2004 at 12:48 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Here’s a quick primer on some key dates to know for thoses of you getting confused by poorly written articles floating around.

November 11th: Teams can begin officially talking specific contracts with free agents. Up until Friday, teams are technically only allowed to say things like “Hey, I’m interested”, though the enforcement of tampering in MLB is a total joke.

December 7th: Deadline for a team to offer a free agent arbitration. Any free agents signed before this date will automatically be offered arbitration and the team who loses them will be compensated by the signing team, depending on type of free agent and where the signing team’s pick lies in the draft. Free agents who are not offered arbitration by this date will bring no compensation to their original club, regardless of classification.

December 10th-13th: The annual winter meetings, where most of the big trades/free agent signings are officially announced. This is when a large majority of the impact moves take place, as well as the Rule 5 draft.

December 19th: Last day for free agent to accept arbitration from team. If a player declines the offer of arbitration, he cannot sign with his original team until May 1st. If a player accepts, he is under contract for the 2005 season and is off the free agent market.

December 20th: Last day to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players who are not free agents. A large group of players will be “non-tendered” on this day, leading to a whole host of new free agents flooding the market. Non-tendered players can re-sign with their original club.


14 Responses to “Dates to know”

  1. Conor Glassey on November 9th, 2004 1:06 pm

    Any idea how the site of the winter meeting is selected? Have/will they ever been in Seattle?

  2. dave garnett on November 9th, 2004 1:13 pm

    i ahve a question about the arbitration dates. Why would a team announce the signing of another team’s free agent before the date? Wouldn’t this all but guarantee the former team would offer the player arbitration and take the draft pick compensation?

    I would think it would make more sense to wait until after the date; can someone explain this whole deal to me please.

  3. Dave on November 9th, 2004 1:19 pm

    In cases of superstar players where the team clearly wants the player to return, the offer of arbitration is basically a given. Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, and Pedro Martinez likely fall into this category.

    For mid-tier players, it is indeed to the teams advantage to wait until after the date to preserve draft choices. The Mariners needlessly forfeited their first round pick last year by signing Raul Ibanez before the deadline when the Royals were almost certainly not going to extend him an offer of arbitration (this was by design, but thats another story).

    Also, keep in mind, the Mariners (along with the other clubs who select in the top 15) have their first round pick protected from compensation, so at worst, they’re forfeiting a second round pick. It could be worth the trade-off to get a player signed early, allowing you to make moves on other players knowing you already have your #1 target in the bag.

    As to Conor’s question, I doubt it. GM’s like nice weather; Nashville, New Orleans, and Anaheim are the last three sites for the winter meetings, and all are much warmer than the northwest in December.

  4. Conor Glassey on November 9th, 2004 1:32 pm

    Dave – yeah, I was kind of thinking that. Next year is in Houston too.

  5. Evan on November 9th, 2004 2:55 pm

    They should hold the winter meetings in Montréal, just for the irony.

    Another important date: May 15. The first day signed free agents can be traded without their consent.

  6. DMZ on November 9th, 2004 3:07 pm

    How often does that happen, though?

  7. David J Corcoran on November 9th, 2004 3:53 pm

    I am interested in this trade deadline moving. I can’t say I would be for it, as it takes some of the drama out of the game, as the quality of the prospects being moved would be much lower, as the rentals would only be for a month and a half. Half of the fun of baseball is seeing what teams think of themselves based on what they do at the deadline. If every team knows if they are going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline, that takes some of the fun out of the game. Also, only 2 weeks after deadline we have September callups. For team chemistry aficicandos (not me), this gives a player less time to “adjust” to their new team, and the clubhouse changes again in 2 weeks. This may not be good. I think August 1st is the right time.

  8. David J Corcoran on November 9th, 2004 3:54 pm

    Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often. Think about how awful it would be if the Yanks could sign every premium FA, and then trade them for prospects. then they would have a top-tier farm system to go along with their team. No thanks.

  9. Evan on November 9th, 2004 4:33 pm

    I expect it would happen a lot if not for the limitation. A player could refuse to sign for a team because they’re not contenders or they’re not on the west cost or for any reason, and then promptly be traded to that team.

    I’m quite happy with the restriction. For that reason, I also don’t want the trade deadline moved later. Earlier would be good – he pre-1985 trade deadline of June 15 works for me.

  10. David J Corcoran on November 9th, 2004 5:06 pm

    I also think June 15 is too early, as players get injured, and contenders don’t have anything to do to plug holes, besides call up AAAA guys. I think July 15th-August 1st is a good time.

  11. steve S on November 10th, 2004 12:24 pm

    I think I have a correction to Dave’s otherwise excellent post. I believe a player can decline arbitration on December 19th and still sign with his former team up until January 8th.

  12. Paul Covert on November 10th, 2004 3:20 pm

    Steve S is correct; the official source is here (see December 19 entry at bottom of page):

    (I’m sure that’s what Dave meant, of course; it just didn’t quite come out right.)

  13. BirdWatcher on November 10th, 2004 5:31 pm

    Have I got this right ? There are 3 categories of contract renewals: (1) Automatic contract renewals for 1st, 2nd, and approximately 83 % of 3rd year players; (2) 17% of 3rd year players and 4th and 5th year players are “arbitration eligible” but not free agents. So, they have no right of refusal if they are offered arbitration by Dec. 7. If not offered arbitration, they must be signed by Dec. 20 or they are considered “non-tendered” and they become free agents; (3) Players with 6 or more years become free agents if not offered arbitration by Dec. 7, and they can’t be resigned by their current club until after May 1. If they are offered arbitration but decline, they can still sign with their current club up to Jan.8.

  14. Baseball Crank on November 11th, 2004 6:01 am
    BASEBALL: Around the Horn 11/11/04
    I haven’t done a trip around the baseball blogosphere in a while; here we go: *Brian Gunn hangs up his cleats at Redbird Nation. The Holy Cross sportswriting contingent loses one of its best, as Brian becomes yet another blogger…