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Important offseason dates to consider

Oct 11, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

This offseason should be a big one for the Nationals, who first have to find their new manager. They also have four key impending free agents to make decisions on. After that, they will have a bullpen to reconstruct and some tough calls to make when retooling their lineup.

Here is a look at some important days to anticipate throughout the long and wintry road to Opening Day:

Important dates for front office

Five days after World Series – Deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to pending free agents
12 days after World Series – Deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers
November 9-12 – General managers’ meetings (Boca Raton, Fl.)
November 20 – Reserve lists for Rule 5 draft submitted
December 7-10 – Winter Meetings (Nashville, Tn.)
December 10 – Rule 5 draft
December 12-13 – Nationals Winterfest
January 12 – Salary arbitration filing
January 15 – Salary arbitration figures exchanged
February 1-21 – Salary arbitration hearings

The Nationals are in the middle of a managerial search, one they certainly hope will be completed by the time the GM meetings take place on Nov. 9. That’s when the true Hot Stove season will commence and the Nats have a long to-do list to tackle once it does.

The qualifying offer was released by MLB on Friday and it sits at $15.8 million. The four names to watch as to whether the Nats will extend a QO are Denard Span, Ian Desmond, Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann. Desmond and Zimmermann will probably get them, as both are likely to decline the money and test free agency, therefore giving the Nationals a compensation draft pick. There are much bigger questions surrounding Span and Fister, who both did not have the years they hoped for in the final seasons of their respective deals.

For arbitration in January and February, there are a few names to keep in mind for the Nationals. The big ones are Stephen Strasburg, Wilson Ramos and Drew Storen. All three could be in line for big raises before the 2016 season kicks off. It is unusual for the Natioanls to go to arbitration hearings, so it’s safe to expect that trio to reach agreements ahead of time. Storen, for one, could be traded before it evens gets to that. Also arbitration-eligible are Craig Stammen, Tyler Moore, Danny Espinosa and Jose Lobaton.

The Rule 5 draft is on the final day of the MLB Winter Meetings which take place in Nashville this year. Here is the Nats’ recent history in the Rule 5 draft:

2014 – Did not select or lose any players
2013 – Lost C Adrian Nieto to Chicago White Sox
2012 – Lost LHP Danny Rosenbaum to Rockies (returned to Nats), lost Jeff Kobernus to Boston Red Sox (traded to Tigers, returned to Nats)
2011 – Lost OF Erik Komatsu to Cardinals (claimed off waivers by Twins, returned to Nats)
2010 – Selected RHP Elvin Ramirez from Mets (returned), lost IF Michael Martinez to Phillies, selected RHP Brian Broderick from Cardinals (returned)

Award season

(Official dates are TBA, but these are likely)
Nov. 9 – Rookie of the Year awards announced
Nov. 10 – Manager of the Year awards announced
Nov. 11 – Cy Young awards announced
Nov. 12 – Most Valuable Player awards announced

The Nationals may not be participating in this year’s postseason, but there could be a very big reason for their fans to pay attention to the MLB awards this November. Bryce Harper is the favorite to win the NL MVP award after posting a historic season at the age of 22.

Harper will have to beat out Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta and Dodgers starter Zack Greinke could also make things interesting after the duo finished the season with sub-2.00 ERAs.

Gold Gloves are usually given out at the end of October and they can be hard to predict. Harper, it would seem, has a chance to win one for NL right fielders. He is basically a lock to win the Silver Slugger for the position, as well. Those are usually handed out in the first week of November.

Max Scherzer will surely get some votes for NL Cy Young, though he doesn’t have a realistic shot at finishing very high on the list. Arrieta, Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will likely hold the top three spots.

NL Rookie of the Year is another spot where the Nats could see some votes. Outfielder Michael Taylor may end up on the list for NL rookies and Joe Ross could as well.

Yet to be announced

Feb. TBA – Pitchers and catchers report

2016 regular season

April 7 – Opening Day at Braves

  1. wearenationals - Oct 11, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    When does Spring Training begin?!?

    • nataddicted - Oct 11, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      Hi Everyone, Not sure if this helps but the first ST game was March 5 last year.

      • ArVAFan - Oct 11, 2015 at 12:31 PM

        P & C report 45 days before Opening Day. (Per a Nats exec who is heavily involved in the process). He goes down about 5-7 days before that–which means his season starts just after the Super Bowl. With Opening Day on April 4, P & C would be about Feb. 19, which means no going down to Viera over the Presidents’ Day weekend to P & C. Darn. P & C was Feb. 19 last year, with Opening Day Apr. 6. So guessing that the first Spring Training game would be March 4 or 5 seems like a good guess. Remember we have Feb. 29 next year, so the date count will change from last year.

  2. Whack-A-Mule - Oct 11, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    A portent of upcoming methodology ?
    or . . .
    Why does Mike Rizzo suddenly look so much like
    Mike Ehrmantraut ?

    • natsfan1a - Oct 11, 2015 at 1:19 PM

      Remember, Mike. No half measures.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 11, 2015 at 1:24 PM

        Make that “no more half measures.” Eh, you get the drift.

  3. npb99 - Oct 11, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Adding a few more TBD dates:

    TBD: Nats fans lament Jordan Zimmermann signing with [Cubs?].
    TBD: Nats fans hope Rizzo trade of Storen for prospects pays off.
    TBD: Concern grows over why [player] didn’t have surgery earlier in off-season.
    TBD: Following various Rizzo moves, Nats fans excitement for season increases. World Series speculation emerges among some fans, while others just hope for a first post-season series win.

    • ArVAFan - Oct 11, 2015 at 12:32 PM

      TBD: Mark’s headline reads Papel-gone.

      • natsfan1a - Oct 11, 2015 at 1:21 PM

        Oh, yeah…

  4. JayB - Oct 11, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    rockies 3rd Base MVP candidate ?

    Biggest issues this off season are around Ryan Zim and Jason W playing time decisions….this team must make the decision now get two LF bats for 2 and 4 slots in order and plan to have Werth and Zim play limited bench roles…they have earn it with there injury histories. If we plan for them to start more than 60 games then season is lost.

    • infideljack - Oct 11, 2015 at 12:54 PM

      We already have denDekker and Clint to fill those roles. Why spend money?

    • Section 222 - Oct 11, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      that would be Nolan Arrenado. and it would be huge upset if he wins.

  5. JayB - Oct 11, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    If I managed ( scary I know) Harper Leads Off and Pitcher hits 8th…Harper has to get the most plate appearances possible and that is bating first.

    • lowstrikes - Oct 11, 2015 at 12:54 PM

      …well, if anyone knows about bating…
      (couldn’t resist. not sorry.)

      • ArVAFan - Oct 11, 2015 at 1:31 PM

        +1

        Nor should you be.

  6. Sonny G 10 - Oct 11, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    I’ve seen how Rizzo builds a team. Now I get to see how Rizzo and the Lerners re-tool a team. I also get to see how well Rizzo learns from his mistakes. I’m very interested in how this off-season pans out.

  7. wskyrnr21 - Oct 11, 2015 at 5:51 PM

    Dont forget to mark that glorious day when they DUMP FP and Carpenter!

    • Sonny G 10 - Oct 11, 2015 at 6:58 PM

      Awl heck. I like Bob and FP. I hope they stay.

      • unkyd59 - Oct 11, 2015 at 8:56 PM

        Izzat the same poster who bad-mouthed Charlie and Dave, a few months back…?

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