MLB free agency: What you need to know, key dates and top players

From now until Opening Day on March 30, 2023, Major League Baseball teams will do their best to improve — even if it doesn’t always seem like it. Free agent signings. Transactions Rule 5 draft. There are many expectations and many questions in the coming months.

Here are the key dates and answers to some questions about the MLB season.

When does MLB free agency start? Key dates

November 6 – Players become free agents

Once the World Series winner is decided, the book is closed on the 2022 season and all eligible players become free agents. Before those free agents can explore the open market, however, there is a five-day window known as the quiet period in which their former club can only negotiate with them. Also, teams can start trading players again from this date.

November 10 – Free agents can sign with any club

The quiet period ends Thursday at 5 pm ET and free agents can now sign with any club. This is also the last day clubs can extend qualifying offers to eligible players, and the last day clubs or players can exercise a contract option for 2023.

November 8-10: GM meetings in Las Vegas

This is the first formal meeting of MLB executives during the offseason. In recent years, GM meetings haven’t been the place for major deals, but getting all GMs in one place can spark conversations that eventually lead to deals.

November 15: Rule 5 draft deadline

By 6 p.m. today, teams must decide which Rule 5 draft-eligible players they will protect by adding them to the 40-man roster.

The Dec. 7 Rule 5 draft allows teams to select non-eligible 40-man players from other clubs for a $100,000 fee. Selected players are added to their club’s new 40-man roster and must remain on the 26-man roster or injured list for the entire season or be released entirely. If a player selected in the Rule 5 draft clears waivers, he must return to the original club for $50,000.

November 18: Bid End Date

Each offseason, teams must decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players through the 2023 season. Note, this is not the date on which salary figures are determined. That typically happens in mid-January, with arbitration hearings following in February. This is just the deadline for teams to decide which players they will or will not offer contracts to. As non-tendered players become free agents, this gives them time to sign with another team before spring practices.

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December 5-7: San Diego Winter Meetings

The baseball world reconvenes for the annual Winter Meetings. Beginning in December 2019, winter meetings will be held for the first time in person. In 2020, the Winter Meetings were held due to the pandemic, and in 2021 they were canceled due to the MLB lockout. As has been the case in recent years, the winter meetings may be when some significant free agent signings and trades occur. The first MLB draft lottery takes place on December 6th. The Rule 5 draft will be held on December 7th in San Diego.

January 13: Deadline for arbitration

Arbitration hearings will be held between January 30 and February 17.

January 15: International signing period opens.

After the Major League Players Association and owners failed to reach an agreement on the international draft last summer, no changes were made to international signings and the qualifying offer remains.


Who are the biggest free agents this offseason?

Keith Law (Top 50 MLB Free Agents for 2022-23) and Jim Bowden (Top 25 with Contract Projections) both ranked the best players available.

This offseason’s free agent class has proven to be strong, thanks to the return of last year’s No. 1 free agent, Carlos Correa, who leads another very attractive group of shortstops in this class. Possible AL MVP and Cy Young Award winners. Stronger on position players than on pitches, the crawler group and the top-class expressive class are both very weak.

In addition to Correa, the main names are: Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Aaron Judge, Xander Bogaerts, Willson Contreras, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon, Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga.

Are MLB contracts guaranteed?

Yes, major league contracts are fully guaranteed. Some contracts have player options, club options or collective options at the end of the deal.

Is there still a valid offer?

The qualifying offer remains until the players’ union and MBB reach an agreement on the international draft. Eliminating the qualifying offer, which often negatively affects the market for top players, was a key trade-off for players in the complex negotiations.

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What are the baseball luxury tax limits?

Also known as the competitive residual tax, which was $230 million in 2022, the basic limits going forward are:

2023: 233 million dollars
2024: 237 million dollars
2025: 241 million dollars
2026: 244 million dollars

Expenditures between $1 million and $20 million over the base threshold are subject to a 20 percent tax for groups that did not exceed any threshold in the previous year, a 30 percent tax for groups that exceeded any threshold in the previous year, or a 50 percent tax for groups that exceeded two. For consecutive years or more.

The cost of raising $20 million to $40 million from the base, called the first surcharge, is a 32 percent tax for teams that were not above any level a year ago, 42 percent for teams that were above the previous year, or 62 percent or more for teams that were above two years in a row.

The cost of going to the second supplemental payment of $40 million to $60 million above the base is a 62.5 percent tax for teams that did not exceed any level a year ago, a 75 percent or 95 percent tax for teams that were above the previous year. A group of more than two years or more in a row.

In a third surcharge, the “Steve Cohen Tax,” the cost of withdrawing $60 million or more is an 80 percent tax on groups that did not exceed the threshold a year ago, and 90 percent on groups that did. year, or 110 percent for a group of two or more consecutive years.


Who are this year’s MLB free agents?

From the Major League Baseball Players Association through Nov. 7 (does not include player, club or joint options):

Arizona Diamondbacks (1) Zach Davis

Atlanta Braves (9): Ehire Adrianza, Jesse Chavez, Adam Duvall, Robbie Grossman, Jay Jackson, Luke Jackson, Kenley Johnson, Darren O’Day, Dansby Swanson.

Baltimore Orioles (3) Jesus Aguilar, Robinson Chirinos, Bad Smell

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Boston Red Sox (6): Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, JD Martinez, Matt Strahm, Michael Wacha

Chicago Children (2) Wade Miley, Willson Contreras

Chicago White Sox (4) Jose Abreu, Elvis Andrews, Johnny Cueto, Vincent Velasquez.

Cincinnati Reds (5): Chase Anderson, Austin Romine, Donovan Solano, Hunter Strickland, Justin Wilson

Cleveland Cavaliers (1) Austin Hedges

Colorado Rockies (5) Alex Colome, Carlos Estevez, Jose Iglesias, Chad Kuhl, Jose Urena.

Detroit Tigers (2) Tucker Barnhart, Daniel Norris

Houston Astros (6): Michael Brantley, Jason Castro, Aldmis Diaz, Yuli Gurriel, Rafael Montero, Christian Vazquez

Kansas City Royals (1) Zack Greinke

Los Angeles Angels (4) Archie Bradley, Matt Duffy, Michael Lorenzen, Kurt Suzuki

Los Angeles Dodgers (10): Tyler Anderson, Joey Gallo, Andrew Heaney, Tommy Kahnle, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Martin, Kevin Pillar, David Price, Trea Turner.

Miami Marlins (0)

Milwaukee Brewers (6): Josh Lindblom, Andrew McCutchen, Omar Narvaez, Jess Peterson, Taylor Rogers, Trevor Rosenthal

Minnesota Twins (6) Carlos Correa, Michael Fulmer, Billy Hamilton, Sandy Leone, Aaron Sanchez, Gary Sanchez

New York Mets (10) Jacob deGrom, Tommy Hunter, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Tyler Naquin, Brandon Nimmo, Adam Ottavino, Jolie Rodriguez, Taijuan Walker, Trevor Williams.

New York Yankees (9): Andrew Benintendi, Zach Britton, Matt Carpenter, Miguel Castro, Ardis Chapman, Marwin Gonzalez, Chad Green, Aaron Judge, Jameson Taillon.

Auckland A (2): Chad Pinder, Stephen Vogt

Philadelphia Phillies (6): Chris Devenski, Kyle Gibson, Brad Hand, Corey Knebble, David Robertson, Noah Syndergaard

Pittsburgh Pirates (2) Ben Gamel, Roberto Perez

St. Louis Cardinals (2) Corey Dickerson, Jose Quintana.

San Diego Padres (8) Josh Bell, Mike Clevinger, Brandon Drury, Pierce Johnson, Sean Manea, Jurickson Profar, Craig Stamen, Robert Suarez

San Francisco Giants (5) Jose Alvarez, Brandon Belt, Shelby Miller, Joc Pederson, Carlos Rodon.

Seattle Mariners (5) Matthew Boyd, Curt Casali, Adam Frazier, Mitch Haninger, Carlos Santana

Tampa Bay Rays (3) Corey Kluber, David Peralta, Mike Zunino

Texas Rangers (5) Kohei Arihara, Charlie Culberson, Matt Moore, Martin Perez, Kevin Plawecki

Toronto Blue Jays (3) Jackie Bradley Jr., David Phelps, Ross Stripling

Citizens of Washington (8) Steve Cishek, Nelson Cruz, Sean Doolittle, Will Harris, Cesar Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, Joe Ross, Anibal Sanchez

(Photo: Tom Szczerboski / Getty Images)



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