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Guardians 2022-23 offseason calendar: Rule 5 draft, arbitration deadlines, award dates, and more

Welcome to the offseason!

Division Series - New York Yankees v Cleveland Guardians - Game Three Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The World Series is over, the Astros are champions, and the Guardians have some work to do. Whether you follow baseball every day all year round, or only pop in for big events, this post will serve as your one-stop shop for the 2022-2023 offseason.

This will be the first “normal” offseason baseball has seen in a while. Nothing in the world was normal in 2020, and last year’s offseason — including the highly anticipated Winter Meetings — was cut short by an MLB-instituted lockout. Everything is on the table now, though, and it could be an exciting one for Guardians fans as the team looks to build on the surprising 92-win season and trip to the ALDS they enjoyed in 2022.

Here are some key dates to watch for in the coming months.

Nov. 6 - Nov. 10: Start of free agency/contract options/qualifying offer deadline

Technically all players without contracts became free agents Sunday morning, but teams have until Nov. 10 to negotiate before other teams can try signing them.

Traditionally it lasts until a few days after the World Series ends (four, in this case), this will be the last opportunity to exercise options and keep an eligible player from going to free agency. It will also be their last chance to extend a qualifying offer to eligible free agents and make it more difficult for them to sign with other teams.

With such a young, cost-controlled team, don’t expect much from the Guardians here. Seeing as he cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A, Bryan Shaw still technically has a $4 million team option on the table, but he could probably be back on a minor-league deal if the Guardians really want to go down that route again.

Austin Hedges is the only outgoing free agent for the Guards, and they’re not going to give him the $19.65 million qualifying offer any time soon.

Nov. 7: Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year finalists announced

This is the date that finalists for the BWAA Awards will be announced on MLB Network. The Guardians will likely have at least finalists in Rookie and Manager of the Year awards in Steven Kwan and Terry Francona, respectively. Shane Bieber might sneak in there as a Cy Young finalist, too.

Finalists will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Nov. 8 - Nov. 10: GM Meetings

The GM Meetings are the boring little brother of the Winter Meetings. While front office personnel might be present here, they’re usually discussing high-level league rules and other non-trade, non-exciting rumor things.

Details about the impending shift ban and pitch clock will likely be ironed out here, and maybe even some talks about robotic strike zones in the future.

Nov. 10: Silver Slugger Award winners announced

Silver Slugger finalists were announced in the middle of the World Series. In case you missed it, the Guardians have two: Andrés Giménez at second base and José Ramírez at third base. I suspect Giménez will lose to Jose Altuve, but Ramírez has a real shot to take home his fourth Silver Slugger if voters can get over the fact that Rafael Devers plays for the Red Sox and actually vote for the better batter. But I digress.

Winners will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Nov. 14: Rookie of Year Award winners announced

Obviously, Rookie of the Year finalists have not been announced as of this writing, but it seems safe to assume that Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodríguez, and Steven Kwan will be the three for the American League. It’s also safe to say that, despite putting up an outstanding performance himself, Kwan will probably lose to Rodríguez and his rookie-leading 28 home runs and 5.3 fWAR on the season.

Winners will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Nov. 15: Manager of Year Award winners announced

Guardians obviously have a stake in this year’s award, with Terry Francona leading the youngest team in baseball to the playoffs. John Schneider of the Blue Jays and Orioles manager Brandon Hyde each seem like they have solid cases as well. In fact, Hyde won the Sporting News Manager of the Year Award last week.

Winners will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Nov. 15: Rule 5 protection deadline

Cleveland’s urgency to lock up Rule 5-eligible talent isn’t as intense this year as it was last offseason when they added Tyler Freeman, George Valera, and Brayan Rocchio to the 40-man roster to prevent them from being selected if the draft happened. It didn’t, and only Freeman saw any time in the majors.

Trenton Brooks, Micah Pries, Gavin Collins, Eric Rodriguez, Angel Martinez, and Joey Cantillo are some names to keep an eye on this year.

Nov. 15: Qualifying offer acceptance/rejection deadline

Outgoing free agents who received a qualifying offer have until Nov. 15 to either accept the offer and return to their former team, or reject it and head to free agency. A player who rejects the offer and signs with another team will cost that new team a draft pick, so they typically make less in free agency.

As stated above, Austin Hedges probably isn’t getting a $19.5 million offer from the Guardians.

Nov. 16: Cy Young Award winners announced

Maybe Shane Bieber gets a surprise nod to be a finalist, but there’s no way anyone but Justin Verlander wins the AL Cy Young this year.

Winners will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Nov. 17: MVP Award winners announced

Now that the World Series is over, baseball can go back to debating Aaron Judge or Shohei Ohtani for AL MVP. We’ll find out who is right on Nov. 17.

Winners will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET.

Nov. 18: Non-tender deadline

This is the date for teams to tender contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players — basically anyone they have under some kind of team control without a long-term contract in place. For the Guardians, that’s basically everyone. Teams don’t need to offer actual arbitration numbers for at least a couple of months, but they need to commit to going through the arbitration process if they can’t reach a deal in time.

While Cleveland’s arbitration costs are going to start piling up soon, I doubt anyone will be outright non-tendered, unless Anthony Gose’s health is in such question that he’s not worth paying an estimated $800k for in arbitration.

Dec. 4 - Dec. 7: Winter Meetings

Arguably the most exciting part of any offseason, the Winter Meetings are scheduled to take place in San Diego in a few short weeks. For those unfamiliar, the Winter Meetings are when most trades and free agent signings go down as agents and front office personnel are together in person and usually talking business while the media is there with listening ears. The pandemic wiped out the 2020 in-person event and last year’s didn’t happen at all due to the lockout. So this will be the first time in a while we’re going to have a week of rapid-fire offseason news and rumors.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like following sports in the offseason, I would suggest at least coming out of hibernation for these four days and following all the insanity before ignoring baseball again until spring training.

Dec. 7: Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft serves as the end cap for the Winter Meetings, and it’s a time for teams to draft prospects from other teams who have been around for a while but have not been added to their team’s 40-man roster yet. From, here’s what qualifies a player to be eligible in the Rule 5 draft.

Players signed at age 18 or younger need to be added to their club’s 40-Man roster within five seasons or they become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Players who signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.

Again, last year’s was canceled due to the lockout and it might have saved the Guardians from losing Oscar Gonzalez, who was left off the 40-man and exposed to being picked up by another team.

Jan. 13: Arbitration figures deadline

This is the last chance for teams to exchange arbitration figures with eligible players. They may continue to negotiate with players ahead of the hearing, but if they are too far apart both sides can just submit numbers and wait for their day in court.

Jan. 30 - Feb. 17: Arbitration hearings scheduled

MLB teams, especially the Guardians, try to avoid the arbitration process as much as possible. That’s why you’ll see most teams sign eligible players to one-year deals ahead of arbitration, or even buy out all of their arbitration years at once. If no deal is reached and the two sides go to the arbitration court, it means the team will be arguing against a player’s worth to persuade the arbiter to agree with their lower valuation.

It’s a messy process that is a last resort for most clubs.

Feb. 26: Spring training opener against Rangers

After the magic and heartbreak of the 2022 season, the Guardians will start it all over again with a game in sunny Goodyear, Arizona against the Texas Rangers. It seems so far away now, but it’ll be here before you know it.

Thanks to Al Yellon over at Bleed Cubbie Blue for providing the dates.