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A look at MLB’s offseason calendar

Baseball doesn’t stop just because there are no games.

Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

The 2018 MLB season is in the books and we’re a few months out from spring training and the 2019 regular season.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have baseball things to think about and keep track of over the rest of the autumn and winter.

Here are some dates to remember over the next few months. The first two dates come up later this week.

October 31: Deadline for players with opt-out clauses to exercise them. Clayton Kershaw is the most notable player here. Jason Heyward has an opt-out after 2018 which he will almost certainly not exercise. This is also the deadline for teams to exercise contract options. For the Cubs, it will be decision time on Cole Hamels and Pedro Strop, both of whom are likely to stay. Brandon Kintzler’s $10 million team option will be declined, but he has a player option for $5 million that he will almost certainly exercise.

November 2: Deadline for MLB clubs to formally issue one-year qualifying offers to free agents, 4 p.m. CT. This year’s qualifying offer is $17.9 million, up slightly from last year. Those players will have 10 days to consider those offers and can negotiate with other clubs during that 10-day window. After that deadline, all free agents can begin negotiating with all teams. The Cubs don’t have any players who will get qualifying offers this offseason.

November 4: Gold Glove winners will be revealed in a one-hour show on ESPN, 8 p.m. CT. The Cubs have three “finalists”Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Heyward.

November 5: BBWAA awards “finalists” announced (really, just the top three votegetters for all the awards).

November 5-8: General Managers meetings in Carlsbad, California

November 12: BBWAA awards week begins with the Rookie of the Year Award
November 13: Manager of the Year Award
November 14: Cy Young Award
November 15: MVP Award

November 20: Deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters for purposes of the Rule 5 draft. The Rule 5 draft will take place December 13.

November 30: This is commonly referred to as the “non-tender deadline.” It’s the date on which teams must tender contract offers to players on their rosters who are not under contract for the 2019 season. If a player is non-tendered, he becomes a free agent. The Cubs wouldn’t seem to have any obvious non-tender candidates this winter.

December 9-13: Baseball’s annual winter meetings, this year in Las Vegas. As noted above, the Rule 5 Draft takes place on the 13th, the final event of the winter meetings.

January 11, 2019: This is the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary figures with their teams.

February 1- 20, 2019: Arbitration hearings are scheduled and held on dates in this three-week period. If a salary dispute goes to a hearing, the arbitrator picks either the team offer or the player salary request — they can’t split the difference. Often, players and teams reach agreement before a hearing. Last year, the Cubs and Justin Grimm went to a hearing which the team won.

And then spring training games begin February 22... just 115 days from now!