The offseason is officially here. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series and now it’s time for teams to try and build a team to win the next one. There are some dates this offseason that are more important than others.

October 30th is the date in which options need to be decided on by either the player or the team that holds the option. For the Cincinnati Reds specifically, that means the decision must be made by Nick Castellanos as to whether or not he’s going to return for the 2021 season and be paid $14,000,000.

Two days later on November 1st is officially the day in which free agency begins and teams can sign anyone who is a free agent. It’s unlikely anyone actually signs on this day. November 1st is also the day in which eligible players have to be extended the qualifying offer. Cincinnati can extend that to free agents Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, or Freddy Galvis. One of those guys will actually get the offer.

November 9th through 12th will be the days in which the Major League Baseball awards will be announced. The Rookie of the Year Award will be first, announced on the 9th. It will be followed by Manager of the year on the 10th, the Cy Young Award winners on the 11th, and the Most Valuable Player Award on the 12th. Each award will be announced on MLB Network at 6pm ET.

November 11th is the last day that players have to accept or reject a qualifying offer.

November 20th is the date in which teams must add eligible minor league players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. This year players drafted in 2016 or earlier, or college players selected in 2017 must be added in order to be protected. International players who were signed in 2016 or earlier also need to be protected.

December 2nd is the non-tender deadline. This is when teams can choose to offer a contract to a player who hasn’t yet reached free agency as long as they want to keep them on the 40-man roster and go through the arbitration process with them. If they don’t want that, they will non-tender the player and that player will become a free agent.

December 10th is the date in which the Rule 5 draft will be held.

January 15th is the date when the international signing period begins. This usually happens on July 2nd each summer, but with all that took place this summer, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed to push back the signing date to mid-January.

Mark your calendars.

26 Responses

  1. Charlie Waffles

    November 11 will be an interesting day if the Reds do offer Bauer a Qualifying Offer as expected.
    Roster-wise November 20 will be an important date. The Reds are only at 32 on their 40 man roster right now. They don’t have to do a lot of juggling of the roster to create some space if needed.
    The big date will be Dec. 2, the non-tender deadline. A flurry of activity will be going on that week and the following week as teams scramble for bargains. Goodwin and RStephenson should be non-tenders. Casali, though unlikely now, could find himself in this group too if they cannot find a trade for him or either of the other 2 by deadline day. I don’t see the Reds keeping 3 C’s on the 26 man roster next year, or giving Bell 2 RH hitting C’s to go with his lefty-righty mix. Casali unfortunately ends up being the odd man out. They should try to trade Casali, Goodwin and RStephenson before Dec. 2 if they can instead of just non-tendering them.
    We’ll see early this winter what kind of baseball man Nick Krall really is. Many decisions to be made and things to be accomplished early. The November 20th deadline is when astute GM’s can pick up some bargains as teams get into roster numbers crunches at this time of year. And the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline and time following is expected to be one like we have never seen before. Again, the astute GM can come out of this period with a gem or two.

    • Old Big Ed

      Somebody co-opted my “Big Ed,” so I will become Old Big Ed.

      The playoffs made it apparent to me that Robert Stephenson’s arm is ordinary at best. Every team has a handful of guys (and not just on the back end of the bullpen) who have livelier arms than Stephenson. Plus, he gave up homers at rate unrivaled even by Bad-Bronson-Against-Lefties. He wouldn’t cost much, so they may bring him to spring training. If he makes a LOT of improvement, then keep him, but otherwise DFA him in March. Somebody will pick him up.

      I never did get the Brian Goodwin trade, although I suppose somebody in the front office may have been dating his sister. He turns 30 next week, and was fairly productive with the Angels in 2019, accounting for more than 100% of his career bWAR, but the Reds didn’t need another left-handed hitter (Votto, Moustakas, Shogo, and Winker are plenty) or another outfielder.

    • jim walker

      I disagree that Casali should be the odd man out behind the plate. Gold glove credentials of Barnhart aside, he is the guy the Reds should be looking to move.

      Gray clearly prefers working with Casali. Castillo rediscovered his mojo in September when he was paired Casali. While it may be a bit of a moot point now, Bauer also preferred Casali. These preferences add up to a strong statement of who would make the better back up and mentor for T.Stephenson.

      Now, let’s look at the $$$. Casali and Barnhart are both potentially under team control through the 2022 season, Casali as arbitration eligible; Barnhart on an existing contract. Barnhart would cost them just short of $12M for those 2 seasons because his contract inflates to $7.5M in 2022. Casali likely will cost them something short of half that for the 2 seasons.

      Realistically, the Reds are not going to pay Barnhart the $7.5M in 2022. Instead, they will exercise their $500K buyout option. This makes the cost of Barnhart for 2021, including the 2022 buyout, about $4.75M or approaching the neighborhood of what they would have to pay Casali for both 2021 and 2022 combined.

      The issue is the sunken cost for Barnhart in 2021. However, if they move Barnhart and keep Casali, even if they have to send half the sunken cost along with Barnhart, the catching is settled through 2022 for under $7M plus the MLB minimum Stephenson will be paid.

      In ordinary times, I have no doubt this sort of deal involving Barnhart would be possible with a big money team looking for a solid backup catcher on a 1 year commitment. I have no idea, if it is doable in the current environment. But if the Reds take the easy way out by letting Casali go, they end up paying more and getting less for their money.

      • Charlie Waffles

        You know Jim, that was my first take on Curt Casali. I think keeping Casali is the better move. I like Casali.
        But I firmly believe that David Bell’s influence in the front office on roster decisions will only increase now that Dick Williams is gone. And Bell is a slave to the lefty-righty matchups. I just can’t get past that fact and Bell leaving himself with “only” 2 RH hitting options for C. On top of that, Farmer is also a RH hitter. And if Barnhart wins his second Gold Glove award, that will probably cinch it.

      • Linkster

        Good call Jim. Barnhart, especially if he wins the Gold Glove, will have a lot of value for a team with a young pitching staff or a team in need like the Rays.
        Also, Rob Steve shouldn’t cost too much. Try to sign him on the low and bundle him with Barnhart (and some minors) for a big time hitter, preferably at SS.
        The challenge at SS is there are a lot of FA options this year and next. Going to be hard to make a trade that favors the Reds for more than a year and less the SS existing team can pull off a sign and trade or the Reds can get a SS that can also play 2B & 3B. But, they must have a BIG STICK!

      • JB

        Sorry Jim but you must of forgot who is managing this team. Mr. Righty ,lefty isnt keeping 2 right handed hitting catchers. I would do what you said in a minute. Unfortunately Bell wouldnt.

      • JayTheRed

        I want to keep Casali too basically for all the reasons mentioned above. I just always feel better when he is catching and hitting over Barnhardt. I don’t hate Barnhardt but if someone should go and maybe this helps his trade value if he wins the gold glove, but I would prefer Barnhardt traded.

    • Redsvol

      I also disagree on Casalii being moved/non-tendered. Tucker is starting to show the inevitable wear and tear that all catchers do, plus Casali is almost as good and costs a fraction of Tucker.In normal times, its no brainer to keep Tucker thru his contract…..but these ain’t normal times.
      I definitely see them keeping BobSteve. Young, talented pitcher who will still be relatively cheap with low wear-and-tear.
      I also see them keeping Bradley. Again, during normal times they keep Goodwin around, but they’ll likely be able to replace him cheaply this off season with a non-tender veteran.
      Move Tucker, Rasiel and Eugenio in trades and put the money toward Bauer for 1 more year.

  2. Old Big Ed

    The real “Important Date” for 2021 is the day they decide whether to have the DH in the NL next year. I was never a DH fan, but it is inevitable and they may as well do it now. This decision needs to be made soon, so teams know how to construct their rosters.

    A DH would allow them to move Moustakas to 1B, and Senzel to 2B (for the 84 games for which he is not on the IL), and keep Shogo in CF. (The Reds would be better defensively if Votto sat on his mitt in the right field corner and smoked a cigarette.) At the least, they could slot Winker as DH; Winker is a bad outfielder but they can at least hide him a little bit in left field.

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    The other problem to solve is the SS. Last offseason Galvis was available as a minimum starting option but for this he no longer exists and I see it unlikely that any contract will be offered to Galvis again although anything is possible. The idea is that an SS of experience and good offense be obtained for at least two years and counting on the development of José Garcia.

  4. Sabr Chris

    Cleveland has put Brad Hand on waivers. 10 million is a steep price for a reliever but please put in the claim. Would make trading Raisel much easier.

    Furthermore, while we don’t know the Reds financial situation nor how much of a loss ownership is willing to take, but a deep pocket owner will to take a hit this year could really give their team a huge advantage this offseason.

    • Charlie Waffles

      This Brad Hand outright on waivers is going to be interesting to watch. As depleted of left handers as Cincinnati is, it doesn’t guarantee they would put in a claim.
      If the Reds get lucky and claim him, the money could easily be offset by trading Archie Bradley and Casali or Barnhart for a couple of more left handers.

  5. Mark Moore

    Braun is a free agent … this is going to be a very strange offseason indeed.

    • DaveCT

      I hope he moves out of the NL Central, due to the excessive amount of wasted time he creates every at bat. We’ve paid our dues. Put him on the coast somewhere.

  6. Jonathan

    Kolten Wong was also put on waivers. he would be a good upgrade at 2nd.

    • Mark Moore

      I thought declining his option meant he is gets FA status, not goes into the waiver process.

    • JayTheRed

      Wong will be a free agent now not on waivers. I too would not be opposed to adding him especially if Votto could DH next year if we have that back. Move Moose to 1st base.

  7. Mark Moore

    Add Brett Gardner and JA Happ to the FA pool mix. I’m pretty sure Nick C. will opt IN to be a Red for 2021, bird in the hand and all that …

    Winter meetings should be interesting to watch, though I’m in the camp that thinks there will be a lot of talk and bluster with few signings (even less than normal) this time around.

    • Mark Moore

      And from Tampa, Charlie Morton and Mike Zunino … that FA pool continues to grow.

      • JayTheRed

        Morton I would not mind signing him he has had some good success.

    • jim walker

      I am tending to agree that the movement is pretty much going to be offloading until deep into the winter. Teams simply don’t know what their business model is going to look like. I will not be at all surprised if the start of the season is pushed back as far as June 1; and, it turns out to be around 100 games in length. If this happens, we will probably see special rules and a reconfigured schedule like we saw in 2020.

      • Mark Moore


        I’m in agreement. Won’t be 60, but it won’t be 162 either. I’m thinking (and have for some time) the DH is here to stay. Shorter season likely means the 7-inning DH’s stay (I’m fine with that). They’ll do whatever they can to play in 2021 because the CBA cesspool negotiations could kill 2022. Think of what we see ahead as a precursor to all that.

        The list grows. MLBTR is pretty good at keeping current with the updates.

  8. Mark Moore

    And the Stupid Cubbies just paid Lester $10M to buy him out of what would have been a $25M option. Talk about having to spend your way out of a marginally bad deal. Reports say they “want to reach a deal” but what would that look like? Certainly something in the mid-six figures I’m thinking as the max.

    • Doc

      Gives an idea of what starting point discussion would have to buy Votto out.

      • Mark Moore

        Well, Lester’s buy-out was baked into the contract. Not sure how it would work with Joey … or even if it could work.