The conclusion of the World Series, with the crowning of a 60-game COVID champion, opens the door for free agency and trades.
The official offseason is underway.
As always, please continue to breathe normally.
Players enter free agency the day after the World Series. For the Orioles, it’s a short line at the moment with only pitcher Wade LeBlanc and catcher Bryan Holaday, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
A two-man stampede doesn’t make much noise.
LeBlanc will be removed from the 60-day injured list. He’s in recovery mode after suffering a stress reaction in his left elbow.
Other players can hit free agency later, depending on whether the Orioles pick up the $3.5 million option on shortstop José Iglesias’ contract - and money would have to be really tight to decline it - or non-tender some of their arbitration-eligibles.
A decision on Iglesias must be made within five days after the final out of the World Series.
The non-tender deadline is Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. and there’s usually some drama. The Orioles traded Jonathan Villar and Dylan Bundy last offseason.
One of the more interesting nights since I’ve been working the beat came on Dec. 2, 2013, when the Orioles actively shopped closer Jim Johnson to avoid paying him the projected $10 million in arbitration. He saved 101 games the previous two seasons. Former manager Buck Showalter did not approve.
The return was modest, to say the least. The Orioles received infielder Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later from the Athletics who turned into catcher David Freitas.
“It’s really about the allocation of resources,” former executive Dan Duquette said after the deal became official. “And to have a competitive team, you have to have proper balance throughout your club. And this is our intent with the trade, to balance our roster and allocate our resources properly and have a competitive team in 2014.”
Tommy Hunter opened the following season as the closer, Zack Britton replaced him and the rest is division-winning history.
The Orioles non-tendered pitcher Eddie Gamboa and outfielder Jason Pridie on the night of the Johnson trade. Not nearly as interesting.
The trades this summer of relievers Richard Bleier, Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro shortened the club’s arbitration duties.
Representatives for free agents can’t contact other teams until five days after the World Series. A negotiating window that usually slams shut without new deals.
The Orioles could attempt to re-sign Holaday for the sake of catching depth, especially if they decide to move on from Austin Wynns, who didn’t appear in a major league game this season.
Wynns is on the 40-man roster bubble. There are four open spots, with a fifth coming after Holaday declares free agency. But the Orioles will remove Trey Mancini, Richie Martin and Kohl Stewart from the 60-day IL.
Qualifying offers to free agents can be made, again, within five days after the Series. The Orioles aren’t going to get involved. LeBlanc and Holaday won’t find $18.9 million sitting on the table.
The Orioles have until Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. to protect players in the Rule 5 draft, which is held on the last day of the Winter Meetings. The 40-man roster is expected to hold outfielder Yusniel Diaz and pitchers Zac Lowther and Michael Baumann, with a handful of other possibilities.
Finalists for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards will be announced on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. on MLB Network, with the Rawlings Gold Glove winners revealed the following night on ESPN. Anthony Santander is a finalist among right fielders, but the Rangers’ Joey Gallo is the favorite.
The BBWAA’s Rookies of the Year will be announced on Nov. 9, and Ryan Mountcastle is going to get some recognition - even if he isn’t in the top three.
The Managers of the Year will be revealed on Nov. 10, the Cy Young Award winners on Nov. 11 and the Most Valuable Players on Nov. 12. None of the Orioles are expected to reach finalist status.