Free agency begins officially at 6 a.m. PT on Thursday, the official start to baseball's hot stove season. The Dodgers have seven free agents, with potential for a few more in the coming days. Here is a review of the schedule for the next few weeks, as we try to stave off the cold, dark winter with no actual on-field baseball action.
We will likely hear, officially, the 2015 option decisions from Dan Haren and Brian Wilson, and from the Dodgers on Chad Billingsley very soon. Most options have to be exercised within five days of the World Series, which would be Monday, though typically the decisions come sooner than that.
In 2013, for instance, the Dodgers declined 2014 club options for both Chris Capuano and Mark Ellis on Oct. 31, the afternoon after the World Series was over. So look out for those decisions within the next few days. Or hours.
The other important dates to follow are more concrete and specific:
Today: All players on a 40-man roster with expired contracts and at least six full years of major league service were granted free agency at 6 a.m.
Saturday: The parade of top prospects in the Arizona Fall League that is the 2014 Fall Stars Game will be played at Salt River Fields, including Dodgers shortstop prospect Corey Seager. The game starts at 5 p.m. PT and will be televised by MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com.
Monday: By 2 p.m. PT, clubs must make any qualifying offers to free agents. The qualifying offer is a mechanism for teams to get compensated for losing premium talent on the free agent market. A club offers a one year contract at the average value of the top 125 salaries in baseball - determined this year to be $15.3 million - and if the player declines and signs elsewhere his new team forfeits a draft pick and his old team gets a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds.
Monday: Players Choice Awards announced, 5 p.m. PT on MLB Network. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is a finalist for four different awards.
Monday: There is a "quiet period" in the first five days of baseball's free agency period during which no player is allowed to sign with a new team. In the interim, teams and players can talk with one another but no signing of contracts, except for players re-signing with their old team. But after 9 p.m. PT on Monday, anyone can sign a contract with any team.
Tuesday: Finalists for the four major Baseball Writers Association of America awards - Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young, MVP - for each league will be announced, 3 p.m. on MLB Network.
Tuesday: Gold Glove winners will be announced at 4 p.m. on ESPN2. Four Dodgers are finalists - Juan Uribe, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke and Kershaw.
Nov. 6: Silver Slugger Awards, given to the best hitters at each position in each league, will be announced, 3 p.m. on MLB Network
Nov. 10-13: General managers meetings in Phoenix. Not a lot of transactions tend to happen here, but this is somewhat notable for the Dodgers because, as of now, they technically don't have a general manager. It is unknown whether new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will hire his GM, scouting director or player development head by then.
Nov. 10: Players extended a qualifying offer have one full week to accept or decline the offer. The decision must come by 2 p.m. PT. To date, all 22 players - nine after the 2013 season and 13 last year - have declined the qualifying offers.
Nov. 10: Rookie of the Year awards announced, 3 p.m. on MLB Network
Nov. 11: Manager of the Year awards announced, 3 p.m. on MLB Network
Nov. 12: Cy Young Awards announced, 3 p.m. on MLB Network
Nov. 13: MVP of the Year awards announced, 3 p.m. on MLB Network
Nov. 20: Date by which to set reserve lists, in other words adding minor league players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. People like Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Scott Schebler, perhaps.