With the World Series coming to an end last night, the 2014/2015 off-season officially begins today. Here is a quick primer of all of the off-season topics.
Teams must reinstate players from the 60-day disabled list no later than five days after the end of the World Series, getting their rosters down to 40-men. The deadline this year is on Monday. The Pittsburgh Pirates had Charlie Morton on the 60-day disabled list, but reinstated him last week. Thus, no move needs to be made to trim the 40-man roster.
Teams must also make decisions on option years no later than 11:59 PM EST on Saturday night. The Pirates don’t have any decisions to make with options this year.
November 20th marks the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters for the 2014 Rule 5 draft. We did a Rule 5 preview in September, and will take another look in a few weeks. Teams can make changes to the 40-man roster after November 20th, although they can’t add any new internal players to the roster between November 20th and the 2014 Rule 5 draft, held on December 12th.
My prediction of the 2014 40-man roster can be found here, minus the Rule 5 additions.
Arbitration Eligible Players
Teams have until December 2nd to tender offers to their arbitration eligible players for the 2014 season. The Pirates have ten players who are eligible for salary arbitration this year. Last week we looked at all of the arbitration eligible players, and their salary projections.
Once offers are tendered, the two sides (the team and the player) will work to reach an agreement. If no agreement can be reached, the two sides file for arbitration, during the first two weeks of January. Once they file for arbitration, the two sides exchange salary figures around the third week of January, and have their salary arbitration hearing during the first three weeks of February. The sides can reach a deal outside of the arbitration process at any time before the actual hearing, even immediately before the scheduled hearing.
If the negotiations do reach the hearing, both sides will argue their case for the salary they submitted, and the three person arbitration panel will determine which salary is more appropriate for the player. All decisions made by the panel are final, although the club and the player are free to re-negotiate the deal.
October 30th at 12:01 AM EST marks the beginning of a five day period in which teams retain exclusive negotiating rights with their players who qualify for free agency. The Pirates have four players who qualify for free agency: Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, and Clint Barmes. Pending free agents can have general discussions with other clubs during this five day period, but can’t discuss contract details or sign with a new team until 12:01 AM EST, November 4th.
The big topic during this period will be the qualifying offers for these players. Teams have five days to decide if they will make a qualifying offer to departing free agents. This year the offer is $15.3 M for one year. If the player accepts that offer, the team gets him for the 2015 season on that deal. If the player declines and signs with another team, the former team gets a draft pick in the 2015 draft. The Pirates will make a qualifying offer to Russell Martin, and no word yet on Francisco Liriano.
The two notable meetings that take place in the off-season are the GM/Owners meetings, and the more popular Winter Meetings. The General Manager’s meetings take place on November 10-12, and the Owners’ Meetings take place November 11-12. Usually there’s not much occurs during these meetings, although it provides an opportunity for the General Managers to meet face to face, and possibly start discussions on potential trades.
The Winter Meetings take place on December 8-11. The Winter Meetings usually marks the time when free agency starts to heat up.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.