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MLB’s 2023-24 offseason calendar: Free agents, awards, Rule 5 draft, non-tenders, arbitration, more

Baseball doesn’t stop just because there are no games. Here’s a handy calendar of everything happening before next season begins.

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Congratulations to the Texas Rangers on winning the 2023 World Series, the first championship in their 63-year history. Among other things, this means that Aroldis Chapman, who spent seven years with the Yankees and signed his biggest free-agent deal there, now has two rings — neither of which is with the Yankees. He’ll add a Rangers ring to the one he won with the Cubs in 2016.

With that, baseball’s offseason commences. Here’s a handy calendar to help you fill your fall and winter until Opening Day 2024.

The day after the conclusion of the World Series (today): All players with at least six years of service time who are not under contract for the 2024 season will automatically become free agents (in fact, officially were as of a couple of hours ago, 8 a.m. CT today). Minor league players with six years of service will also become free agents if not added to a 40-man roster. For the first five days after the World Series there is a “quiet period” when clubs can talk to free agents but can’t sign them.

At the end of the quiet period (November 6, 4 p.m. CT), clubs must decide whether or not to extend one-year qualifying offers to their free agents. The qualifying offer dollar amount for 2024 has not yet been officially announced, but per Joel Sherman in the New York Post it’s likely to be around $20.5 million, up from $19.65 million last year. Cody Bellinger will, of course, receive a qualifying offer. He’s the only Cub likely to get one.

Players who receive a QO then have 10 days (deadline: November 14) to decide whether or not to take it. If they don’t, they are immediately eligible to sign with another team.

The end of the five-day quiet period is also the deadline to settle 2024 contracts with opt-out clauses, player options, club options and mutual options. The Cubs players in those categories are Drew Smyly, Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendricks and Yan Gomes. Here’s a complete list of players who are in those contract situations heading into 2024.

At the same time, teams are required to move all players on the 60-day injured list back to the active roster. The following six Cubs players are currently listed on the 60-day IL: Nick Burdi, Michael Fulmer, Codi Heuer, Brandon Hughes, Nick Madrigal and Ethan Roberts. Fulmer is a pending free agent, so he’ll be one who is removed from the list.

Here are all the players who officially became free agents this morning. There could be others after various contract clauses are exercised.

Here are some other dates to note this fall and winter.

Sunday, November 5: Gold Glove winners will be announced live on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. CT.

Monday, November 6: The finalists for the annual Baseball Writers Association of America MLB awards will be announced live on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

November 7-9: General managers meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Thursday, November 9: Louisville Silver Slugger Awards will be announced for each position live on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

Monday, November 13: The Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners will be announced for the National and American Leagues live on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

November 14-16: Owners meetings in Arlington, Texas. Normally these don’t create a lot of news, but this time that likely will happen, as owners are reportedly going to take a vote on the A’s relocating to Las Vegas. It will take 22 of the other 29 owners voting “yes” to approve the move.

Tuesday, November 14: Players who have received qualifying offers must accept or reject them by 3 p.m. CT. Players accepting the offer, obviously, remain with their previous team. Players who reject the offer become free agents attached to draft pick compensation. Last year, 14 players received the $19.65 million QO, but just two accepted: Rangers LHP Martin Perez (who gets a World Series ring for his decision!) and Giants outfielder Joc Pederson.

Tuesday, November 14: Teams must add eligible minor leaguers to their 40-man rosters or risk losing them in the Rule 5 Draft by 5 p.m. CT. College players drafted no later than 2020 and high school players drafted no later than 2019 are Rule 5 Draft eligible this year, as well as players signed internationally no later than 2019.

Tuesday, November 14: Manager of the Year awards will be announced for the National League and American Leagues live on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

Wednesday, November 15: AL and NL Cy Young awards will be announced live on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

Thursday, November 16: MVP awards for the NL and AL will be announced live on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.

Friday, November 17: The MLB non-tender deadline (6 p.m. CT). All teams must offer their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players a contract for 2023 by this date. Players who do not receive a contract offer are considered “non-tendered” and become free agents. This date was moved up from early December to the Friday immediately before Thanksgiving in the new CBA. The following Cubs are arb-eligible this year (projected salary estimates here): Adbert Alzolay, Nick Burdi, Codi Heuer, Mark Leiter Jr., Nick Madrigal, Julian Merryweather, Justin Steele, Mike Tauchman and Patrick Wisdom.

Monday, November 20: The 2024 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot will be released, with voting taking place through December 31.

Sunday, December 3: The Contemporary Baseball Era Committee of the Hall of Fame will meet with the results of the vote announced live on MLB Network at 6:30 p.m. CT. Anyone elected will be inducted in Cooperstown Sunday, July 21. There are eight candidates, including former Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

December 3-6: MLB’s annual Winter Meetings are scheduled to take place in Nashville.

December 5-6: Winners of the Hall of Fame’s 2023 Frick Award (for broadcasters) and BBWAA Career Excellence Award (for writers) will be announced.

Tuesday, December 5: The MLB Draft lottery will take place. The 18 teams that did not make the postseason all have a shot at the No. 1 pick, though the worst teams have the highest odds. Per that link, the Cubs have a 0.4 percent chance of winning the top pick.

Wednesday, December 6: The Rule 5 Draft is the final event of the Winter Meetings. Players taken in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on their new team’s major league roster all season or be offered back to their original team, although sometimes trades are arranged so teams can keep the player in their minor-league system.

Friday, December 13: The international signing period closes at 4 p.m. CT. The 2024 signing period opens next month (see below).

Friday, January 12: Teams must exchange salary arbitration figures with arbitration-eligible players by this deadline. The two parties can avoid arbitration by reaching an agreement any time prior to the beginning of an arb hearing. In many cases, players and teams do agree to a contract before filing salary figures.

January 12-14: The Cubs Convention returns. Hotel room packages are on sale here and you can get weekend passes without the hotel stay here.

Monday, January 15: The beginning of the 2024 international signing period, at 8 a.m. CT. Since MLB and the MLBPA didn’t agree on an international draft for the new CBA, players from countries outside the US, Canada and Puerto Rico can sign with any team. This system will remain in place through at least 2026, when the current CBA expires.

Tuesday, January 23: The National Baseball Hall of Fame announces its 2023 class in a live MLB Network broadcast at 5 p.m. CT. Any players elected will be inducted in a ceremony in Cooperstown, New York Sunday, July 21.

January 29 - February 16: Arbitration hearings for eligible players who have not reached agreement on contracts with their teams.

Friday, February 23: The Cubs open their 2023 Spring Training schedule against the White Sox at Sloan Park at 2:05 p.m. CT.

March 20-21: Seoul Series. For the first time ever, MLB will play regular-season games in Korea, as MLB takes its “World Tour” to Asia with two games between the Dodgers and Padres. After these games, the Dodgers will play their annual exhibition “Freeway Series” against the Angels in Los Angeles, and the Padres will face the Mariners in a pair of practice games at Petco Park before the teams resume their regular seasons.

Thursday, March 28: Opening Day 2023! The Cubs open the season against the World Series champion Texas Rangers at Arlington, Texas at 3:05 p.m. CT. All 30 teams will be in action that day.

Monday, April 1: The Cubs play their home opener at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. against the Colorado Rockies.