With the World Series ending just an hour ago, it might seem premature to welcome the Hot Stove League in before the Giants are even done celebrating. However, changes to the timing of the winter schedule means that the offseason really does start tomorrow.
The free agent filing period, which used to last 15 days following the World Series, has been eliminated. Now, teams only have a five day window of exclusivity to negotiate with their own free agents before they hit the open market. That means that we could theoretically have our first free agent signing happen on Sunday.
Decisions on contract options generally have to be exercised by either the team or the player within three days of the end of the World Series, so we’ll hear official news that the M’s have opted to buyout Russ Branyan’s option by Thursday. And yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to happen. They might bring him back, but they won’t pay $5 million for the right to do so.
At this point, most of the teams not from Texas or San Francisco already have a pretty decent idea of what they want to do this winter. It won’t take them that long to put those plans into action. Due to the accelerated schedule, we could see some legitimate newsworthy transactions next week. With the playoffs over, I will have some more time to devote to the site, and I’ll be knocking out a good amount of stuff over the next few months. It should be fun.