The Week Ahead: Free agency to get rolling
Teams, players to decide on qualifying offers while Cubs, Mariners seek managers
Fans might be wondering what they're going to do with themselves in the first week since the beginning of April with no Major League games.
Luckily, there's plenty to watch.
The first action will occur right away Monday as teams have until 5 p.m. ET to make one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers to their eligible free agents. The teams' exclusive negotiation period ends at midnight ET; a minute later, players are free to negotiate and sign with other teams.
If a players turn down a qualifying offer and elects to sign with another team during the offseason, the club losing that player will receive Draft-pick compensation. A player has one week to accept a qualifying offer -- that deadline is 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 11 -- and be locked in to his current team, or he can decline and hit the open market.
In other words, this is the week in which stars such as Robinson Cano of the Yankees, Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, outfielders Shin-Soo Choo of the Reds, Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, Red Sox first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli, Braves catcher Brian McCann, starting pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez of the Indians, Matt Garza of the Rangers and Ervin Santana of the Royals, and relievers Brian Wilson of the Dodgers, Grant Balfour of the A's and Joaquin Benoit of the Tigers can become available to anyone who might be interested.
It would be surprising to see any of those players sign this week or even next week or the week after that. They'll likely see where the market takes them during negotiations between their agents and prospective employers. They might even wait until after the Winter Meetings, scheduled to be held Dec. 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.
But this week could very well bring about the availability of a new free agent, Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, who turned 25 on Friday, went 24-0 with a 1.24 ERA for the Rakuten Golden Eagles this season and helped his team to a Japan Series victory over the Yomiuri Giants.
Tanaka will have to be posted by Rakuten in order for Major League teams to be able to bid for his services, but that could happen soon.
In the meantime, there's other unfinished business.
Two teams have not settled on a manager, and general managers don't want to wait long to fill those openings.
The Chicago Cubs have interviewed Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, former Nationals and Indians manager Manny Acta and former Indians and Mariners skipper Eric Wedge. The Cubs are expected to sit down with Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo this week.
The Seattle Mariners have talked to A's bench coach Chip Hale, former Mariners player and Major League coach Joey Cora, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach, Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and former Mariners catcher and TV man Dave Valle.