The Braves won their first World Series title in 26 years tonight, beating the Astros 7-0 to secure a six-game victory. The Atlanta title ends a 162-game season that featured an increase in fan attendance as the season progressed, a relatively normal campaign after the shortened 2020 season.
With the 2021 season on the books, the league and its fans are turning their attention to yet another offseason of uncertainty. This time around, potential labor disputes are looming. With the current collective agreement due to expire in just under a month, there is apparently a real potential for work stoppage. The state of talks between the MLB and the Players Association is expected to dominate industry headlines over the next few weeks, but the offseason is expected to follow its usual routine at least until the current collective agreement expires on 1st December.
The ABC (or the lack of it) could disrupt the sports calendar after December 1. So there is as much uncertainty about how this offseason progresses as in recent history, but here’s how things are currently planned to play out:
November 3: The start of a five-day period where teams and players must decide whether to exercise or decline contract options and opt-outs for the 2022 season. Qualifying free agents cannot sign with anyone from other than their current team for an additional five days.
November 7, 4 p.m. CST: The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers (one-year contracts, $ 18.4 million) to eligible free agents. For a breakdown of the draft picks teams would lose by signing a qualified free agent, see here.
November 8: Official opening of the free agency.
November 8-11: Meetings of CEOs held in Carlsbad, California.
November 17: Deadline for players marked with a qualifying offer to accept or reject the OQ.
November 19: Deadline for teams to add players to the 40-player roster to prevent them from selecting in draft rule 5.
December 1st 11:59 p.m .: Current collective agreement expires. If the MLB and MLBPA don’t agree on a new CBA by then, the league can institute a lockout that freezes teams’ ability to trade until negotiations are resolved.
December 2: The deadline for teams to bid contracts to players eligible for arbitration.
December 6-9: Winter meetings are to be held in Orlando, Florida.
December 8: Draft rule 5.
December 15: Conclusion of the 2020-21 international amateur signing period. Typically scheduled to run from July to June, the 2020-21 and 2021-22 international signing periods have been postponed from January to December as part of MLB’s COVID-19 rule changes.
January 14, 2022: Date on which the teams and players eligible for arbitration will exchange the deposited figures. Teams and players are still free to settle and avoid arbitration after this date, although many clubs choose to proceed with a “case and trial” strategy – essentially deciding to have a hearing with all the players. players with whom a settlement is not concluded by then.
January 15, 2022: Planned start of the 2021-22 international amateur signing period. The 2021-2022 period is scheduled until December 15, 2022.
February 26, 2022: First Spring Training matches.
March 31, 2022: Opening day.