Here's a quick rundown about the big dates coming up for the A's this offseason, and comments about what Oakland needs to do before then.
- Five days after the conclusion of the World Series (Free agency): Major League and Minor League Players not signed or reserved for the following season become free agents.
Edward Mujica is the only player on the 40-man roster eligible for free agency.
- Five days after the conclusion of the World Series (DL reinstatement): Players on the 60-day disabled list must be reinstated and count against the 40-man roster limit.
The A's have seven players on the 60-day disabled list. After Edward Mujica is released to free agency, there are 34 players counting against the 40-man limit, so the A's will have to drop at least one additional player from the 40-man roster by this date.
Update (November 3): The A's allowed Dan Otero to be claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies and outrighted Carson Blair off the 40-man roster.
- November 9-12 (GM Meetings): General Manager and Owner meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.
At the GM meetings, you'll see the start of the rumor mill and preliminary discussions of deals that will be finalized at the Winter Meetings. The deadline to accept or reject qualifying offers usually comes during the GM meetings.
- November 20 (Rule 5 Draft protection): Deadline to protect Rule 5 Draft-eligible minor league players by adding them to the 40-man roster.
The A's have 1 player almost certain to gain Rule 5 draft protection: Joey Wendle. Two other candidates include Double-A reliever Tucker Healy and Triple-A reliever Aaron Kurcz. Every other player in the MLB.com Top 30 A's prospects list is either already on the 40-man roster or not eligible to be selected.
- December 2 (Non-tender deadline): Deadline to tender contracts to players under team control.
A club will typically decline to tender a contract to a player under its team control if it believes the salary it would pay the player at arbitration is well above that player's value. There are several A's candidates to be non-tendered (Matt Swartz arbitration estimate in parentheses): Ike Davis ($3.8 MM), Felix Doubront ($2.5 MM), Sam Fuld ($2.3 MM), Craig Gentry ($1.6 MM), Evan Scribner ($0.7 MM). These players are prime candidates to be designated for assignment if the A's make offseason waiver claims.
- December 7-10 (Winter Meetings): Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.
Last year's Winter Meetings were a flurry of activity as the A's finalized trades involving Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija. Expect more of the same.
- December 10 (Rule 5 Draft): Minor League players not on the 40-man roster who have been in professional baseball for four (for college players, generally) or five (for high school players, generally) Rule 5 drafts are eligible for selection. In the Major League portion, a player selected must remain on the selecting team's active roster the entire season or else must clear waivers and then be offered to the club he was taken from.
- January 15 (Exchange of arbitration figures): Arbitration-eligible players and their clubs exchange salary figures.
Including the five players noted as possible non-tender candidates above, the A's have 15 arbitration eligible players. Here are the other 10: Josh Reddick ($7.0 MM), Jesse Chavez ($4.7 MM), Brett Lawrie ($3.9 MM), Danny Valencia ($3.4 MM), Eric Sogard ($1.7 MM), Fernando Abad ($1.5 MM), Fernando Rodriguez ($1.3 MM), Drew Pomeranz ($1.3 MM), Jarrod Parker ($850K), A.J. Griffin ($508K).
- February 1-21 (Arbitration hearings): Arbitration panels hear player and club presentations and decide whether to award the player his submission or the club's. The arbitration panel cannot select a compromise figure.