The 2019 season is over for the Milwaukee Brewers after bowing out in the National League Wild Card game, but the 2019-2020 MLB offseason has yet to begin in earnest. Sure, there may be a miscellaneous waiver claim here or there while the playoffs are going on (in fact, we just passed the four year anniversary of Junior Guerra’s arrival in Milwaukee via waivers), but things don’t really get going until after the conclusion of the World Series.
This year’s Fall Classic is scheduled to begin on October 22nd. It could be over as early as October 26th if it is a four-game sweep one way or the other, or as late as October 30th if the series goes seven games. For five days after the end of the World Series, teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their impending free agent players. But if no agreement is reached by the end of those five days, eligible players can file for free agency and become available to sign with any team. Also at the end of the five-day period, teams must decide whether or not to make a Qualifying Offer to a departing player who is eligible, and choose to either exercise or decline any contract options.
This year, the Brewers have four players who can depart as straight free agents — Matt Albers, Drew Pomeranz, Jordan Lyles, and Gio Gonzalez. None of them are Qualifying Offer candidates. The club also has five option decisions to make — Mike Moustakas (mutual), Yasmani Grandal (mutual), Eric Thames (team), Chase Anderson (team), and Manny Pina (team).
Players around the league who receive a Qualifying Offer have ten days to decide whether to accept and return to their team on a one-year deal, or decline and head to free agency with draft pick compensation attached.
Next comes awards season:
3 Nov: Rawlings Gold Glove Awards
4 Nov: BBWAA Awards Finalists announced
6 Nov: Wilson Defensive Players of the Year
7 Nov: Silver Slugger Awards
11 Nov: Rookie of the Year
12 Nov: Managers of the Year
13 Nov: Cy Young
14 Nov: Most Valuable Player
18 Nov: Comeback Players of the Year
19 Nov: Designated Hitter of the Year
After that is the start of meetings season, when we generally start to see the first notable transactions begin to take place. The GM Meetings will take place from November 11th-14th in Scottsdale, Arizona. The MLB Owners meetings run from November 19th-21st in Arlington, Texas. The most important gathering of all, baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, go from December 9th-12th and this year is located in San Diego.
In the world of roster construction, the deadline for a team to set their 40-man roster and protect players from the Rule 5 Draft is on November 20th. The deadline to offer eligible players arbitration or non-tender them and allow them to become free agents is December 2nd. David Stearns and company will have to make arbitration decisions on more than a dozen players currently on the 40-man roster.
On December 8th, the Hall of Fame Modern Baseball committee vote is announced. December 12th brings the Rule 5 Draft and the end of the Winter Meetings. After that, things usually quiet down around the league during the holidays.
Following the start of the new year, on January 10th, 2020 is the deadline for teams and players to file and exchange arbitration salary numbers. Teams and players have up until then and some time after to continue negotiating in hopes of agreeing to terms on a contract, but if no pact is finalized, arbitration hearings are scheduled to occur between February 3rd-21st.
Hope springs eternal with the start of Spring Training, and pitchers and catchers will report to American Family Fields of Phoenix on February 12th. Position players have until February 17th to report, and then the first full team workout will take place the following day.
The Cactus Crew’s first exhibition game is on February 22nd. After the conclusion of Cactus League play, the Brewers will face the Royals in a two-game exhibition series back in Milwaukee on March 23rd and 24th.
Opening Day for the 2020 regular season is set for March 26th against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park.
Here is hoping for an offseason filled with rumors, news, and transactions, so that it flies by quickly and we are on to a new season of rooting for the Cream City Nine!