Looking Over the Winter Timetable As Free Agency Begins

Mike WestContributor INovember 15, 2008

Today was the first day of this offseason’s free agent period, when players and their agents can officially speak numbers to interested teams. With the huge crop of attractive free agents this winter, it should turn out to be a fairly lengthy process, with plenty of hot stove rumors.

Sometimes it can get confusing, but knowing the deadlines is a good start when sorting through the mess. Now that the first date has arrived, let’s take a look at the schedule to come.

  • Dec. 1: Deadline for clubs to offer salary arbitration to their ranked free agents, and still receive compensation.
  • Dec. 7: Deadline for free agents to accept arbitration offer.
  • Dec. 8-11: Winter Meetings
  • Dec. 11: Rule 5 Draft
  • Jan. 5-15: Salary arbitration filing period
  • Jan. 19: Arbitration figures are exchanged
  • Feb. 1-21: Arbitration hearings
  • Feb. 14: Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training

A complete list of MLB important dates can be found here.

So while we’re all anxious to see some blockbuster trades and big-name free agent signings, we’ll have to be patient. Rick Hummel has a nice preview of what’s to come.

Ninety-one. Is it too early to start counting down the days?

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