So, let’s go over the important dates and deadlines of the Braves’ offseason:
The first day after the end of the World Series: Players become free agents on the first day after the conclusion of the World Series, whenever that may be this year. Beginning this day, teams can engage in trade discussions. This day is the start of a five-day quiet period in which teams have an exclusive opportunity to negotiate with their own free agents.
The Braves’ free agents are Pierce Johnson, Joe Jiménez, Kevin Pillar and Jesse Chavez. The Braves can extend the qualifying offer to these free agents. The one-year qualifying offer this offseason is worth $19.65 million, according to MLB.com, but none of the four Braves free agents is a candidate because that price outweighs their value.
And then there are contract options.
The Braves have within five days of the conclusion of the World Series to decide on contract options. Eddie Rosario has a $9 million club option, and Charlie Morton has a $20 million club option. Collin McHugh has a $6 million team option, and Kirby Yates has a $5.75 million team option. Brad Hand has a $7 million mutual option.
The fifth day after the end of the World Series: At 5 p.m. on the fifth day after the conclusion of the World Series, this quiet period ends. Free agents can negotiate and sign with other teams. This time and date is also the deadline for clubs to extend the qualifying offer to free agents.
By this time, we’ll also have clarity on the players with contract options.
Nov. 5: The Gold Glove Award winners will be announced at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. Center fielder Michael Harris II, third baseman Austin Riley and left fielder Eddie Rosario are the Braves’ three finalists.
Nov. 7-9: The general managers meetings will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona, during these days. On Nov. 8, National League baseball operations officials – including Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos – will have media availability.
Nov. 9: The Silver Slugger Awards will be announced on MLB Network from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. The Braves could have multiple winners.
Nov. 14: The deadline for players to accept the qualifying offer. Braves fans won’t need to worry about this day this year.
Nov. 17: This is the deadline to tender a contract to players on the 40-man roster. Players such as Matt Olson or Austin Riley – who are on long-term deals – already have contracts, so don’t worry about them here. But those like Michael Soroka or Bryce Elder – on the 40-man roster with less than six years of service time – must be tendered a contract.
The biggest potential story this year for the Braves: Will Soroka be tendered a contract? He has eclipsed five years of service time, which means he would need to consent to being optioned. In other words: If the Braves tender Soroka a contract, he’ll need to make the team out of camp or they’d lose him to waivers.
Dec. 4-7: The winter meetings will take place in Nashville, Tennessee. Managers and front-office executives hold media availability, so Anthopoulos and Brian Snitker will speak at different points. Given the baseball world will convene in one place, free agency and the trade market could pick up at this time.
Dec. 6: The Rule 5 draft will be held in Nashville from 1-3 p.m.
How eligibility works: Players signed at age 18 or younger must be added to their club’s 40-man roster within five seasons or they become exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Players signed at age 19 or older need to be protected within four seasons.
And for the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft, eligible players must be placed on the organization’s 38-man Triple-A roster to be protected.
Most of the Braves’ top prospects don’t yet need to be protected, or already are on the 40-man roster (like AJ Smith-Shawver). Lefty Luis De Avila, their No. 14 prospect on MLB Pipeline, is on the Triple-A roster, but might need to be placed on the 40-man roster. He had a great season and, though he only has 3-2/3 Triple-A innings to his name, there might be some promise there. (The Braves selected De Avila from the Royals in the minor-league phase in 2021.)
Don’t expect the Braves to be active in the major-league phase – any player selected here goes directly to the team’s 26-man roster. But the Braves could select players in the minor-league phase.
An example: In 2021, along with De Avila, the Braves selected Allan Winans in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft after the Mets didn’t add Winans to their 38-man Triple-A roster. He made a handful of starts for the Braves this season.
The middle of January: There’s a certain date in the middle of January – last year it was Jan. 13 – for arbitration-eligible players and their clubs to exchange salary figures for the coming season – if they haven’t agreed on a contract by this time. An arbitration hearing is scheduled. But teams and players can negotiate until the hearing to avoid heading to that hearing, which usually takes place in February.
The Braves’ arbitration-eligible players are: Max Fried, A.J. Minter, Kyle Wright, Michael Tonkin, Nick Anderson, Nicky Lopez, Kolby Allard, Sam Hilliard, Ben Heller, Yonny Chirinos, Huascar Ynoa, Andrew Velazquez and Soroka.
Remember: This list could shrink if the Braves don’t tender contracts to all 13 of these players.