The 2017 major-league baseball season is over, which means there’s no daily march of games leading to the World Series. That will have to wait for spring to begin again.
But there is no shortage of baseball activity all winter. Here’s a calendar of events that will keep the Cubs, and everyone else in baseball, busy all offseason.
November 6: The deadline to make qualifying offers to eligible free agents. To be eligible, a player has to be with a team for the entire 2017 season.
The Cubs figure to make Jake Arrieta a qualifying offer. I suppose they could give one to Wade Davis, too, but the current QO figure of $17.4 million seems a bit high for Davis.
Also on November 6, “finalists” for Rookie of the Year, MVP, Cy Young and Manager of the Year will be announced. This is just hype; the “finalists” are simply the top three vote-getters for the awards. All the voting was done by the end of the regular season.
November 7: The exclusive five-day negotiating period for free agents with their former team ends and FA can now negotiate and sign with any team.
Also on November 7, Gold Glove winners will be announced. Three Cubs are “finalists” — Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward.
November 13: This is the date by which players have to accept or refuse a qualifying offer. Remember that the new collective-bargaining agreement changed the QO system as far as draft-pick compensation; teams don’t lose first-round picks anymore. Here are the new rules:
Sign a qualified free agent
Signing team received revenue sharing money in 2017: Forfeits their third highest 2018 draft pick. Keep in mind this is not necessarily their third rounder.
Signing team paid luxury tax in 2017: Forfeits second and fifth highest 2018 draft picks, plus $1 million in international bonus money during the 2018-19 signing period.
All other teams: Forfeit second highest 2018 draft pick plus $500,000 in international bonus money during the 2018-19 signing period.
Lose a qualified free agent
Player signs deal worth $50 million or more: Former team receives a 2018 draft pick after the first round.
Player signs deal worth less than $50 million: Former team receives a 2018 draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B, which is before the third round.
Former team paid luxury tax in 2017: The compensation 2018 draft pick is after the fourth round regardless of contract size.
November 13-16: Award week. Rookie of the Year Monday, Manager of the Year Tuesday, Cy Young Wednesday and MVP on Thursday.
That same week, all 30 general managers will meet in Orlando, Florida. This could kick off the trading season.
November 20: This is the deadline for teams to add players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Most teams, including the Cubs, will add players before this date. A couple of players who would certainly have been added on 11/20 — Jen-Ho Tseng and Dillon Maples — were added to the 40-man in September.
December 1: The non-tender deadline. Teams must offer contracts to their arb-eligible and pre-arb players by this date or they become free agents. Among Cubs who could be non-tendered are Leonys Martin, Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon.
December 10-14: Baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando. The meetings are concluded with the Rule 5 draft December 14. Rondon is probably the best recent Cub acquired in the Rule 5 draft.
Last year, the Cubs chose Caleb Smith (or, more accurately, the Brewers took him from the Yankees and sent him to the Cubs for cash considerations). He pitched in a few spring-training games and was returned to the Yankees. The Cubs lost Armando Rivero to the Braves in last year’s Rule 5 draft, but he had a shoulder injury and spent the entire season on the DL.
January 13: The deadline for arb-eligible players and teams to exchange salary figures. The following Cubs are arbitration-eligible in 2018: Kris Bryant, Hector Rondon, Kyle Hendricks, Leonys Martin, Justin Wilson, Addison Russell, Justin Grimm, and Tommy La Stella.
February 1-20: Teams and players go to arbitration hearings if they can’t agree on a contract. The last Cub to go to an actual arb hearing was Ryan Theriot in 2010.
And after all that... spring training begins, with players reporting around mid-February (I don’t have the exact Cubs dates yet, but will post them when they’re available.) It will all go by before you know it and it’ll be time for the 2018 baseball season!