Dates to know
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.