The dark season is upon us. We have four months until the next live baseball game. By the time this offseason is finished, the Mariners' roster will look a little bit different. New players will have been signed, others will have left, and a new batch of young guys will be looking to break through onto the roster.
In the meantime, the offseason is a period where news flows at a sporadic pace. To prepare you for the ebb and flow of the major league offseason, here's a look at what's on the schedule for the next four months.
November 4, 2014 - Free agency period begins. Free agents may begin signing with any club.
November 4, 2014 - Rawlings Gold Glove awards announced. Lookout Landing has already run a few articles discussing the Mariners' three Gold Glove nominees, Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager.
November 6, 2014 - Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger awards announced.
November 10, 2014 - Deadline for players to accept Qualifying Offers.
November 10-13, 2014 - GM Meetings will be held in Phoenix, AZ. These meetings are the symbolic start of the hot stove league during the offseason. This year, the executives will also review the pace of game adjustments that were tested in the Arizona Fall League and decide which of the adjustments should be migrated to major league play. Also under review will be the first year of instant replay and any necessary adjustments to the system for next year.
November 10, 2014 - BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year awards announced. No Mariners are expected to be selected for this award.
November 11, 2014 - BBWAA Managers of the Year awards announced. Lloyd McClendon could be a dark horse candidate to win but Ned Yost probably has this award wrapped up with his World Series run with the Royals.
November 12, 2014 - BBWAA Cy Young Awards announced. Felix is expected to be a top contender for his second Cy Young Award.
November 13, 2014 - BBWAA Most Valuable Players awards announced. Felix, Cano, and Seager could all earn MVP votes this year but none of them are expected to win.
December 2, 2014 - Deadline to tender contracts to team controlled players.
December 8-11, 2014 - Winter Meetings will be held in San Diego, CA. These meetings are the culmination of the offseason where executives from all teams meet to wheel and deal. Expect a ton of news between now and these meetings and then a long two months of dead silence.
December 11, 2014 - Rule 5 Draft.
January 13, 2015 - Salary Arbitration filings due. The Mariners have seven players eligible for salary arbitration, Dustin Ackley, Charlie Furbush, Austin Jackson, Logan Morrison, Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager, and Tom Wilhelmsen.
February 1, 2015 - Salary Arbitration hearings begin. Historically, the Mariners have usually avoided arbitration hearings by signing eligible players to one-year contracts near the mid-point of the two parties proposed salary figures. If the Mariners did go to trial with one of their eligible players, it would be scheduled within a three week period beginning February 1.
February 20, 2015 - Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training facilities. Out of the long, cold winter, a glimmer of hope arises in February. Spring Training starts a bit later next year due to the late start of the regular season.
March 4, 2015 - Cactus League play begins. After a few weeks of workouts and daily practices, the first live baseball game in four months begins the march towards Opening Day.
April 6, 2015 - Opening Day, Angels at Mariners. For the first time in seven years, the Mariners will open the season at home.