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Housekeeping and Key Dates in the 2017 Offseason

A few notes and things to look forward to.

Last night was fun. Whether you were rooting for the Cubs or not, it was one of the best games of baseball ever played. It feels odd to be writing about the Mariners right now. I had a much different article in mind when I sat down to write. But after that game last night, I feel the need to just breathe and savor that moment.

So instead of looking back at the Mariners’ season or looking forward to next year, I’ll just prepare you for the offseason. It’s good that that 2016 season went out on such a high note because we’re staring down four long months until the next live baseball game. Awards will be handed out soon, players will come and go, and the bright sun of Arizona in February is right around the corner.

First a few notes about the roster moves that Jerry Dipoto snuck in before the start of Game 7.

Most of these moves were expected. Baron had no place on the 40-man roster and I was surprised to see him hold that roster spot the entire year. It’s good to see Clevenger on his way out of the organization. Both Cook and Furbush struggled through injuries and neither made it back to the mound this year, and because of their injury woes, it looks like neither will see the mound next year either.

Ryan Weber will fill the same kind of pitching depth Adrian Sampson provided before he was injured. Weber is a control artist who has worked his way through the Braves organization, making his major league debut last year. His walk rate was just under 4% in his minor league career and just over 4% in 65 major league innings. He doesn’t strikeout many but his command of his pitches makes him at least a little interesting.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what’s on the schedule for the next four months:

November 7, 2016 – Final day for teams to extend qualifying offers to free agents. This year, the qualifying offer is set at $17.2 million. The Mariners don’t seem to have any free agents who would warrant a qualifying offer this year. Last date to reinstate players from the 60-day disabled list.

November 8, 2016 – Free agency begins. Players may begin signing with any club. Rawlings Gold Glove Awards announced. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager are finalists at their respective positions.

November 8–10, 2016 – MLB General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, AZ. These meetings are the symbolic start of the hot stove league during the offseason.

November 10, 2016 – Louisville Silver Slugger Awards announced. Both Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager have a chance to bring home this award at their respective positions.

November 14, 2016 – BBWAA Rookies of the Year awards announced. Edwin Diaz has a decent chance to pick up some votes but probably won’t take home the award. Deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers.

November 15, 2016 – BBWAA Managers of the Year awards announced.

November 16, 2016 – BBWAA Cy Young awards announced.

November 17, 2016 – BBWAA Most Valuable Players awards announced. Mike Trout probably has the AL MVP locked up but both Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager could pick up some votes.

December 1, 2016 – The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union expires. Rosters, the regular season schedule, an international draft, and revenue sharing are all expected to be major negotiating points this year.

December 2, 2016 – Deadline to tender contracts to players under team control.

December 4–8, 2016 – The Winter Meetings will be held in National Harbor, MD. The Rule 5 draft will be held on December 8.

Mid-January, 2017 – Salary arbitration filings due. The Mariners have eight players eligible for salary arbitration, Tom Wilhelmsen, Leonys Martin, Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent, Vidal Nuno, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Jesus Sucre.

February, 2017 – Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training facilities. 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.

March, 2017 – Cactus League play begins.

March 7, 2017 – The 2017 World Baseball Classic begins. Final rosters have not been announced yet but a number of Mariners should be playing for their native countries this year.

April 3, 2017 – Opening Day, Mariners at Astros.