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 MLB Important Dates leading to 2009 Season

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PostSubject: MLB Important Dates leading to 2009 Season   Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:34 pm




Nov. 3-6, 2008
General Managers Meetings, Dana Point, Calif.

Nov. 20, 2008
Day to file reserve lists for all Minor League levels and Major Leagues

Dec. 1, 2008
Last date for former club to offer salary arbitration to ranked free agents in order to be eligible for compensation.

Dec. 7, 2008
Last date for player who declared free agency to accept an arbitration offer from former club.

Dec. 8-11, 2008

Winter Meetings, Las Vegas

Dec. 11, 2008

Rule 5 Draft

Dec. 12, 2008

Last date to tender contracts for 2009


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PostSubject: Re: MLB Important Dates leading to 2009 Season   Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:31 am

Arizona Fall League
Opening Day 10/07/2008
AFL Rising Stars Game 10/27/2008
AFL Championship Game 11/22/2008

Hawaii Winter Baseball
Opening Day 09/27/2008
HWB Championship Game 11/16/2008

Mexican Pacific League
Opening Day 10/10/2008
Second half begins 11/21/2008

Dominican Winter League
Opening Day 10/15/2008
DWL All Star Game 12/07/2008

Venezuelan Winter League
Opening Day 10/14/2008

Puerto Rican League
Opening Day 11/06/2008
Postseason begins 01/07/2008


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PostSubject: Re: MLB Important Dates leading to 2009 Season   Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:17 am

10/31/08 10:00 AM ET
It's time to light baseball's Hot Stove
With conclusion of Fall Classic, offseason kicks into high gear

By Tom Singer / MLB.com

And, now, on to the intrigue of baseball, and its honors program.

There is, of course, no such thing as an offseason in our favorite sport. There is a regular season, followed by the postseason.

Then comes the parade season -- very brief, very exclusive, this time to the Philadelphia Phillies -- after which we dive headlong into the split seasons of business and awards.

Think of the next few months as a joyful carousel. At every spin, many of the game's biggest names jump on or off. Some even grab the brass ring, both those that come with plaudits and those with dollar signs followed by many zeroes.

Ahh, yes: Free agency, trophy hardware, contract negotiations ... all in a between-seasons break climaxed by disclosure of the newest arrivals (if any) at baseball's ultimate rest stop, Cooperstown's Hall of Fame.

Got the calendar and that red pen ready? Here are the dates to circle:

• Oct. 30 - Nov. 13: Free-agency filing period, which began with the last out of the World Series and lasts for 15 days.

This span is also significant as the exclusive negotiating window for the free agents' 2008 teams. However, historically few free agents can be dissuaded from the open market: A year ago, only six of the nearly 200 players who filed for free agency re-upped with their teams through this window.

• Nov. 3-6: General Managers Meetings, Dana Point, Calif.

No longer the administrative, low-profile conclave it once was, but now an important needs-and-baits market-setter. Last year at this event, the Marlins broadcast that Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis were available.

One development worth tracking this time: Will several controversial World Series umpires' calls move GMs to consider more liberal use of Instant Replay? Also, the coming-out of new Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. Meanwhile, former Seattle GM Bill Bavasi will attend as a special assistant to the Reds' Walt Jocketty.

• Nov. 5-18: Awards weeks.

"Envelope, please." From the American League Gold Glove Team (Nov. 5) through the AL Most Valuable Player (Nov. 18), trophies and plaques galore as the outstanding performers of 2008 take turns on the stage.

• Nov. 20: Deadline for clubs to file Minor League and Major League reserve lists -- players protected from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

•Dec. 1: Deadline for clubs to offer salary arbitration to their ranked free agents -- who then will have six days to decided whether to accept or decline.

Subtitle this "Risky Business." The primary motive for making the arbitration offer is to ensure compensation from another club signing away Class "A" or "B" free agents. But the original club runs the risk of a player it doesn't need or can't afford accepting the offer, and thus being locked into its roster and its payroll.

Real-life example: Say Garret Anderson, whose 2009 option has been declined by the Angels, files for free agency and is ranked (the Elias Sports Bureau compiles the rankings, accorded the leading players in a same-position comparison of big leaguers). If the Angels can't re-sign one of their iconic players beforehand, do they protect themselves by offering arbitration? Not likely -- they could be looking at a salary greater than the $14 million option they declined, given Anderson's 2008 salary ($12 million) and performance (.293, 15, 84 ).

• Dec. 5: The executive board of the players union holds its annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

This is ordinarily an under-the-radar event but, if there are great enough concerns, it can yield proposals which are taken to ownership. Possible topic this time around: Amending rules to explicitly state that no postseason game may be shortened by weather, regardless of the delay length.

• Dec. 7: Deadline for free agents to accept their 2008 clubs' arbitration offer.

A relatively low-impact day: A year ago, the only three players to accept the offer were Michael Barrett (from the Padres), Mark Loretta (Astros) and Andy Pettitte (Yankees).

• Dec. 8-11: Winter Meetings, Las Vegas, Nev.

Baseball's annual traveling trade mart finally pulls into the perfect reflection of the risks regularly taken by gambling GMs. They'll all be betting on the come, and let all the other puns fly, too. Whatever happens in Vegas definitely won't stay in Vegas -- the exception being any players the Blue Jays might take in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft for their Triple-A 51s.

• Dec. 8: Announcement of the latest voting results by the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee, on-site at the Winter Meetings.

• Dec. 11: Rule 5 Draft.

The traditional curtain-dropper of the Winter Meetings, it is increasingly becoming a bargain-hunters' haven.

For the $50,000 fee (half of which is refundable if the drafted player is not on the season-opening 25-man roster), teams have recently picked such unprotected gems out of the crowd as Johan Santana (by the Marlins from the Astros in 1999), Josh Hamilton (by the Reds from Tampa Bay in 2006) and Shane Victorino (twice, most recently by the Phillies from the Dodgers in 2004).

•: Early December: Hall of Fame ballot blast.

Voting-eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America receive the mailed ballots for 2009 election. Newcomers to the ballot include cousins Mo and Greg Vaughn, David Cone and Rickey Henderson.

Henderson holds all-time records for steals (1,406) and runs (2,295), but his greatest accomplishment might be finally qualifying for Hall of Fame election; he was still playing independent Minor League ball, seeking a return to The Show, in August 2005.

• Dec. 12: Deadline to offer contracts to rostered players (unofficially also known as Elvis Presley Day; "Love Me Tender, Love Me Do ...")

Players not tendered contracts join the free-agent scrum.

• Jan. 5 (unconfirmed): Announcement of Hall of Fame election results, traditionally made at the beginning of the new year's first full week.

• Jan. 5-15: Filing period for players eligible for salary arbitration.

Rhetorical bureaucracy in action, since everyone eligible to file will do so. "Let's see: I can do arbitration, but I'd rather not." Hasn't happened yet, never will.

• Jan. 19: Players and management representatives formally exchange salary figures filed for arbitration.

This normally sets off a whirlwind of signings, between parties whose numbers are close and who simply split the difference.

• Feb. 1-21: Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix.

For those who couldn't settle otherwise. But very few cases actually reach the table; a year ago, only eight of the 110 filed.

• Feb. 14, 17: Do we hear a drum roll? Spring Training reporting dates for position players, pitchers on World Baseball Classic rosters.

• Feb. 22: Mandatory reporting date for non-World Baseball Classic players.

The carousel just picks up steam ... and pass the sunscreen.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: MLB Important Dates leading to 2009 Season   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:20 pm

01/02/09 10:00 AM EST
Win or lose, filing period to commence
Arbitration's 10-day window begins Monday, with Howard again a focal point

By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com

Major League Baseball's 10-day salary arbitration filing period begins on Monday and will last until Jan. 15.

And unless the Phillies break a well-constructed pattern, all eyes again will be on left-handed-slugging first baseman Ryan Howard, who will use the system for unsigned players mostly with three to five years of experience to generate another big raise.

Howard filed last year for the first time and was awarded $10 million, matching an arbitration record. Since then, he's only led the Majors in homers (48) and RBIs (146) and the Phillies won the World Series. So this year he'll undoubtedly make at least 50 percent in excess of that figure, another record.

The Phillies have 10 players who can file for arbitration, including their World Series and National League Championship Series MVP, pitcher Cole Hamels.

Howard was the third player to earn $10 million through arbitration, although the other two were actually losers -- closer Francisco Rodriguez, then with the Angels and now a Met, did it last year, and outfielder Alfonso Soriano, then with the Nationals and now a Cub, came up on the wrong end in 2006, when he asked for $12 million.

Winners and losers, it's all relative.

As Zach Locke, a Los Angeles-based attorney who penned a paper last year analyzing the salary arbitration system, wrote: The "popular understanding of arbitration as a way to settle a dispute by having a neutral party decide the best course of action conflicts with the reality that there can be 'winners' like Howard, and 'losers' like Rodriguez."

In salary arbitration, the player presents the higher figure and the club the lower figure. A panel of three arbitrators must choose between the two after arguments are presented by both sides at yet-to-be-scheduled hearings from Feb. 1-21. Those players who elect to possibly go to a hearing must swap figures with their clubs on Jan. 21.

Since 1974, when the arbitration system was collectively bargained, only 12 percent of the filings have gone to a full hearing, including eight last year, six of them won by the clubs. Pitcher Oliver Perez was the only other player besides Howard to succeed, getting $6.5 million from the Mets. In the other cases, the two sides agreed to a contract before their hearing was held.

In 2008, of the 110 players who filed, only 48 actually exchanged figures with their respective clubs, and 40 of those were settled without a hearing.

Of those that did go to a hearing, K-Rod sought $12.5 million and was awarded the $10 million presented by the Angels, who have since lost him to the Mets this offseason via free agency. Howard asked for $10 million while the Phillies wanted to pay him $7 million. In any event, it was a huge raise for Howard, who earned $900,000 in 2007.

Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang lost to the Yankees last year when he was awarded $4 million rather than his request of $4.6 million after winning 19 games in 2007 for the second consecutive season. This time, coming off a foot injury that cost Wang the last three months of the 2008 season, he chose to come to terms with the Yankees, signing a one-year, $5 million deal just before Christmas. Wang earned $489,500 in 2007.

It's always a crap shoot in salary arbitration. The clubs seem to have found the right combination and have won most of the cases in recent years, although last year, according to Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball, the average salary of all 110 players who filed jumped 106 percent from $1.38 million to $3.04 million. And for the 48 players who actually exchanged figures with their clubs, that increase was 220 percent.

"To place the arbitration process in perspective, there is a reason that so few clubs and players go all the way to hearing," said Brown, who noted that the owners have beaten the players in arbitration for 12 consecutive years. "The stakes are too high. That and the clubs really lose even when they win. Whether a deal is struck before hearing, or if a club wins at hearing, the player nearly always gets a hefty raise."

For example, did the Angels win or lose to Rodriguez in 2008? Sure, K-Rod earned a healthy raise from the $7.1 million he made in 2007. But neither side could have forecast that the right-hander would set a single-season record of 62 saves this past season. Rodriguez parlayed that into a three-year, $37 million deal with the Mets.

The Angels replaced him as closer with free-agent left-hander Brian Fuentes, who signed a two-year, $17.5 million deal with Los Angeles this week after being an arbitration loser to the Rockies last year. Fuentes has saved 50 games the last two seasons.

"I knew with Frankie on the free-agent market I had a chance to get to Anaheim," Fuentes said. "Being from California, it's always nice to stay here and have that comfort zone. The Angels are a class organization, they're in the playoffs just about every year, and I hear [Mike] Scioscia is a players' manager."

Of the eight players who actually went to arbitration last year, five were free agents this offseason. Four have signed with other clubs, including infielder Felipe Lopez (Diamondbacks), infielder Mark Loretta (Dodgers), K-Rod and Fuentes. Only Perez remains on the market.

That's actually the way the system is supposed to work.

Salary arbitration was established because the owners at the time tried to maintain the reserve clause and ward off free agency, which was awarded by an arbitrator anyway two years later. The first derivation of the current free-agency system was collectively bargained in the Major Leagues, beginning with the 1977 season.

Currently, clubs control the contracts of almost all players with zero to three years of Major League experience, save for a small group of "Super Two" players who are eligible for arbitration early if they played in the Majors at least 86 days in the previous season and were among the top 17 percent in cumulative playing time in that group with at least two to three years of experience.

Otherwise, players with three years of experience, still bound to their originating clubs, can file for salary arbitration until they are eligible for free agency after their sixth full season.

Howard is an anachronism in the system. He didn't come up for good until he was 25 years old in 2005 and won't reach his zenith as a free agent until he's 32 after the 2011 season. In comparison, first baseman Mark Teixeira, who just signed with the Yankees as a free agent to an eight-year, $180 million contract, is 28.

Thus, the Phils evidently feel no urgency to sign Howard long term and he has no compunction about playing the arbitration system.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: MLB Important Dates leading to 2009 Season   Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:37 pm

Tigers key dates


Feb. 13
Pitchers and catchers report.
Feb. 14
First spring training workout.
Feb. 16 Position players report.
Feb. 17
First full workout.
Feb. 25
First exhibition (vs. Atlanta).
March 5
World Baseball Classic starts.
April 6
Opening Day (at Toronto).
April 10
Home opener (Texas).
April 27
Series vs. Yankees at Comerica.
June 2
Series vs. Red Sox at Comerica.
June 23
Series vs. Cubs at Comerica.
July 14
All-Star Game
at St. Louis.
Oct. 2
Final home series (vs. White Sox).


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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