We have four months until pitchers and catchers report in February, and of course that means four months of Yankee speculation. With the re-signing of Joe Girardi yesterday, the team kicked off their offseason in the right way, by acquiring the manager essential to their future plans. Now the organization has to figure out the Robinson Cano dilemma, hand out qualifying offers, clean up their 40-man roster, and find replacement starting pitchers, a third baseman, a backup shortstop, an outfielder, perhaps a catcher, and a closer. The 2013-2014 offseason is shaping up to be one of the busiest in recent years, and it'll be interesting to see how they shore up so many position while staying under a $189 million payroll. Here are the dates to look forward to this winter.
October 23rd: World Series Begins
October 28th - October 31st: World Series ends, immediately followed by free agency. Former teams may discuss contracts with free agents, and qualifying offers can be announced, but other teams cannot negotiate with free agents, either privately or publicly.
October 29th: Gold Glove Awards announced.
November 2nd - November 5th: 5 days after the World Series finale, all qualifying offers must be tendered. The Yankees will likely offer Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda offers. Teams must also set their 40-man rosters to recall players from the 60-day disabled list.
November 3rd - November 6th: 6 days after the World Series finale, all free agents now have the opportunity to sign with other clubs.
November 6th: Silver Slugger Awards announced.
November 9th - November 12th: 12 days after the World Series finale, this is the last day to accept a qualifying offer. As I mentioned, Cano, Granderson, and Kuroda will likely received offers, and for each declined offer and movement to a new team, the Yankees will receive one first round compensation pick in the 2014 draft.
November 11th: Executive of the Year award and Rookie of the Year award are announced. A new waiver period begins, and the three day GM/Owners Meetings begin in Orlando. Not much usually happens publicly during these meetings, perhaps some rumors leak. This is usually the time when General Managers let everyone know their future plans, be it selling or buying, and trade framework begins to take form.
November 12th: Manager of the Year awards announced. Perhaps the Yankees only real shot at a major award here, with Joe Girardi facing some good competition with John Farrell, Terry Francona, and Joe Maddon.
November 13th: Cy Young Awards announced.
November 14th: MVP Awards announced.
December 2nd: The last day to tender a contract or salary arbitration to team controlled players. David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Shawn Kelley, Jayson Nix, Ivan Nova, Francisco Cervelli, and Chris Stewart are all arbitration eligible, as well as a number of other players that may be affected by this deadline.
December 9th: Essentially the last day to make any final changes to your 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft. This is also the beginning of the three day Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista. This is the major meetings of the offseason, where many free agents and teams either sign, or at least set up the interest and framework for contracts. Likewise, all those trades discussed a month earlier in the GM/Owners Meetings now have a better chance to be worked out.
December 12th: The end of the Winter Meetings, which ends with the Rule 5 draft.
This isn't the end of the offseason, but it is the end of most of the official deadlines and meetings. Arbitration dates will be set for some players, though it's very rare for a Yankee player to actually get to that point, most of the time the team and the players negotiate a salary without reaching a hearing. Many free agents set Christmas (December 25th) as the day to have a new team, that way they can enjoy the holidays without worrying about their future. In recent years, under the new CBA, many free agents have held out through the month of January, waiting for the majority of free agents to sign, giving themselves a better hand in negotiating with more desperate teams. This strategy has both succeeded and failed for a number of them, but I expect the free agent market to continue to play out until at least late-January. By mid-February, pitchers and catchers meet, and we'll have our first Spring Training game on February 28th.