MLB's Important Offseason Dates

Dominick DiFucciAnalyst IOctober 30, 2008

Close of 2008 World Series

The day after the end of the World Series marks the beginning of the 15-day period during which eligible players may elect free agency or demand a trade. Former club retains exclusive negotiating rights until 15-day filing period expires. A player who has filed for free agency may engage in general discussions with other clubs but may not discuss contract details or sign with them until the filing period ends. CBA, Article XX (B).

Fourth day after 2008 World Series

Last date to request waivers on draft-excluded players until 25 days prior to the opening of the 2009 season. MLR 10 (e) (6).

16th day after 2008 World Series

First day Major League free agents may negotiate and sign with a club other than their former club. Article XX (B)(2)(c).

Nov. 3-6, 2008

General managers' meetings, Dana Point, CA

Nov. 10, 2008

End of waiver period (Aug. 1 - Nov. 10). Waivers secured on or after Aug. 1, 2008, expire at 5 PM ET. MLR 10 (c)(4).

Nov. 11, 2008

Beginning of new waiver period (Nov. 11, 2008 - Feb. 15, 2008). Waivers secured on or after Nov. 11, 2008, remain in effect until Feb. 15, 2009.
Exception: special waivers.

Nov. 20, 2008

Deadline day for clubs to file reserve lists for major-league club and all minor-league levels.

Last date to make an offseason outright assignment of an injured player to the minor leagues if the player does not meet the requirements listed in Article XIX (C) (b) of the CBA.

Dec. 1, 2008

Last date (midnight EST) for former club to offer salary arbitration to ranked XX(B) free agents in order to be eligible for compensation if those free agents sign elsewhere.

Dec. 7, 2008

Last date (midnight EST) for player who declared XX(B) free agency to accept offer of arbitration from his former club.

Dec. 8, 2008

Deadline (5 PM EST) to outright a player off the 40-man roster prior to the Rule Five Draft.

December 8-11, 2008

Winter Meetings, Las Vegas.

December 11, 2008

Rule Five Draft.

December 12, 2008

Last date (midnight EST) to tender 2009 contracts to unsigned players.

Jan. 5-15, 2009

Salary arbitration filing. CBA, Article VI (F) (5).

Jan. 19 or 20, 2009

Exchange of salary arbitration figures between MLB Labor Relations Committee and MLB Players Association.

Feb. 1-21, 2009

Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix. CBA, Article VI (F) (5).

Feb. 14, 2009

Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers & injured players (moved up from Feb. 20 for WBC).
CBA, Article XIV (A).

Feb. 15, 2009

End of waiver period (November 11 – February 15). Waivers secured on or after November 11, 2008, expire at 5 p.m. EST.

Feb. 16, 2009

Beginning of new waiver period (February 16 – May 4). Outright waivers secured on or after February 16 remain in effect for 7 days or until 5 p.m. EST, May 4, 2009 (the 30th day of the season), whichever is earlier. Optional waivers secured on or after February 16 remain in effect until 5 p.m. EST April 28, 2009.
Exception: special waivers. MLR 10 (f).

Feb. 17, 2009

Voluntary reporting date for other players (moved up from Feb. 25 for WBC).

Feb. 22, 2009

Mandatory reporting date. CBA, Article XIV (A) (moved up from Mar. 5 for WBC).

Mar. 2-11, 2009

Clubs may renew contracts of unsigned players. Paragraph 10 (a) of Uniform Player Contract.

Mar. 15, 2009

Last day to trade a player who has exercised his right to demand a trade before he is declared an unrestricted free agent. (A player has the right to demand a trade if he signed a multi-year contract before Oct. 23, 2006, then was subsequently traded.)

Mar. 18, 2009

Last day (by 2 PM EST) to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay only 30 days termination pay. CBA, Article IX (B). (For split contracts, the Major League rate of termination pay is owed if Unconditional Release waivers are requested after 2 PM EST. However, the requirement for split contract termination pay does not apply for players who may not be assigned to the minor leagues without their consent and for players selected in the preceding Rule Five draft.)

Apr. 1, 2009

Last day (by 2 PM ET) to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2009 salary. (Only 45 days’ termination pay is due.) CBA, Article IX (B).

Apr. 5, 2009

Official opening of 2009 season. All clubs must reduce their active rosters to 25 players before Apr. 5, 2009.

Sources: Cot's Baseball Contracts