Oh, now that the World Series is over, it's time to start planning free agent shopping. (I've always liked how FA shopping dovetailed nicely with Christmas shopping.) According to MLB.com, here are the dates to circle on your Brewers charities calendar:
- As the Yankees have finished off the Phightin' Phillies on November 4th, the 200+ players eligible for free agency can officially become free agents today, on November 5th. (Last year, 65 players declared free agency on the first day, so look alive there, people.)
- For two weeks, teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents. Then, on November 20th, it's open season for free agents: any player can sign with any team.
- Will the Brewers offer arbitration to Mike Cameron? We'll know by December 1st.
- The Winter Meetings in Indianapolis take place December 7th through the 10th. Really, it's the only reason to be in Indianapolis in December.
- Speaking of December 10th, that's the date of the Major League Rule 5 draft. I bet we take a pitcher!
- Owners on a budget (ahem) might decide to wait a while before signing free agents. That's because teams have to decide by December 12th whether or not to exercise any club options on their players.
- Spring training begins March 4th in Scottsdale against the Giants.
- The regular season begins April 5th at home against the Rockies.
If there are any dates I missed, be sure to add them in the comments.
Finally, if you were curious, there were 5 free agent starting pitchers under the age of 33 with a winning record last season: John Lackey, Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis, Vicente Padilla, and Brad Penny. It certainly gives one pause.