Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 10/29/12
With the World Series coming to an end last night, the 2012/2013 off-season officially begins today.  Here is a quick primer of all of the off-season topics. 40-Man Rosters Teams must reinstate players from the 60-day disabled list no later than five days after the end of the World Series, getting their rosters down to 40-men.  The deadline this year is on Friday.  The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have one player on the 60-day disabled list: Charlie Morton.  They will need to clear roster spots for any of those players they wish to retain. Teams must also make decisions on option years no later than 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday night.  The Pirates have options on Rod Barajas and Pedro Alvarez. Barajas has a $3.5 M option with no buyout. Alvarez has a $700,000 option, which was part of his original contract. November 18th marks the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters for the 2012 Rule 5 draft.  The players that the Pirates need to protect for the first time this year are detailed in this post.  Teams can make changes to the 40-man roster after November 18th, although they can’t add any new internal players to the roster between November 18th and the 2012 Rule 5 draft, held on December 6th. As for the actual draft, teams have until December 1st to place a player on waivers in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster so that they can make a selection in the Rule 5 draft.  This is so that they can outright the player off the 40-man roster on December 5th, which is the deadline for clearing a spot for the draft. My prediction of the 2012 40-man roster can be found here, minus the Rule 5 additions. Arbitration Eligible Players Teams have until December 12th to tender offers to their arbitration eligible players for the 2012 season.  The Pirates have eight players who are eligible for salary arbitration this year: Neil Walker (super two), Garrett Jones, James McDonald, Gaby Sanchez, Charlie Morton, Chris Resop, Joel Hanrahan, and Jeff Karstens.  Earlier this month we looked at all of the arbitration eligible players, and their salary projections. Once offers are tendered, the two sides (the team and the player) will work to reach an agreement.  If no agreement can be reached, the two sides file for arbitration, between the dates of January 5th and January 15th.  Once they file for arbitration, the two sides exchange salary figures on January 18th, and have their salary arbitration hearing between February 1st and February 21st.  The sides can reach a deal outside of the arbitration process at any time before the actual hearing, even immediately before the scheduled hearing. If the negotiations do reach the hearing, both sides will argue their case for the salary they submitted, and the arbitrator will determine which salary is more appropriate for the player.  All decisions made by the arbitrator are final, although the club and the player are free to re-negotiate the deal. Free Agency October 29th at 12:01 AM EST marks the beginning of a five day period in which teams retain exclusive negotiating rights with their players who qualify for free agency.  The Pirates have four players who qualifies for free agency: Kevin Correia, Jason Grilli, Chad Qualls, and Hisanori Takahashi.  Rod Barajas would be added to this list if his option is bought out.  Pending free agents can have general discussions with other clubs during this five day period, but can’t discuss contract details or sign with a new team until 12:01 AM EST, November 3rd. In previous years, free agency moved slow because of the process with ranked free agents. This year is the first year of the new changes under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which reduces the amount of ranked free agents. It’s unknown how this could impact the free agent market. In prior years the market usually started to heat up around the winter meetings, which was also right after the ranked free agents became official. Meetings The two notable meetings that take place in the off-season are the GM/Owners meetings, and the more popular Winter Meetings.  The General Manager’s meetings take place on November 7-8, and the Owners’ Meetings take place November 8-9.  Not much occurs during these meetings, although it provides an opportunity for the General Managers to meet face to face, and possibly start discussions on potential trades. The Winter Meetings take place on December 3-6.  The Winter Meetings usually marks the time when free agency starts to heat up.
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