MLB 2016-17 offseason: Important dates to know for awards, free agency, meetings

Sporting News
MLB players will need to get a little more creative with their rookie hazing ideas going forward.

MLB cracks down on hazing costumes, other rituals in new policy

MLB players will need to get a little more creative with their rookie hazing ideas going forward.

The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions but the club has some important decisions to make regarding the future of the team, as does the rest of MLB. 

This offseason is particularly important since Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in December, not to mention the superstar talent available on the free-agent market. 

Baseball never stops and here are the important dates and deadlines you need to know about the offseason. 

November 5: The majority of contract options decisions due. For the Cubs, they have pending mutual options due on leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler ($9 million, $5 million buyout) and 15-game winner Jason Hammel ($10 million, $2 million buyout). 

November 7: Deadline for teams to make eligible free agents the $17.2 million qualifying offer. If a team makes a qualifying offer to a player who signs a major league contract with another club before June's draft, his former club would receive a draft pick as compensation. The club signing the player also loses its first-round pick in the draft, unless that pick is among the top 10, in which case the club doing the signing loses its next-highest pick.

November 7: Finalists for baseball's major awards will be announced on MLB Network. 

November 7-10: General managers' meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

November 8: The start of free agency. 

November 8: Gold Glove award winners announced on ESPN.

November 10: Silver Slugger award winners are announced.

November 14: Deadline for free agents to accept or reject the qualifying offer. 

November 14-17: Major award winners announced this week. Rookies of the Year announced on Monday, followed by Managers of the Year Tuesday, Cy Youngs on Wednesday, and MVPs on Thursday. Each award is announced on MLB Network.

November 18: Deadline for teams to add eligible prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. 

December 1: Date baseball's current CBA expires. A new agreement is expected before the deadline. 

December 2: Deadline for teams to tender their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players contracts for the 2017 season. Anyone who doesn’t receive an offer becomes a free agent.

December 5-8: Winter meetings are held outside Washington, D.C. The stove is hot early in December and these meetings create plenty of trades and rumors. 

December 8: The Rule 5 draft. Players selected in the draft must remain on their new team's active 25-man roster for the entire 2017 season, or be put on waivers and offered back to their former team. 

January 18: The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced. Newcomers to the ballot include Manny Ramirez, Jorge Posada, Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez.

Mid-January: Deadline for teams and unsigned arbitration-eligible players to file salary figures. Exact date not yet announced because the new CBA hasn't been finalized.

February: Arbitration hearings take place. The player and the team debate why the player deserves the salary they requested. The team basically explains to the three-person arbitration panel why the player isn't worth the money he requests. The panel then awards the player either the salary he filed or the salary the team filed.

Mid-February: Spring training begins. 

March 7: The 2017 World Baseball Classic begins in Tokyo and South Korea. 

March 22: The World Baseball Classic championship game at Dodger Stadium.

April 2: Opening Night. Baseball begins again with the Yankees at Rays and Giants at Diamondbacks. The first full day of games is the following day, April 3.

What to Read Next