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Key dates to know for Giants as important offseason nears

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Three years ago, on the first night of the annual GM Meetings, the Giants named Farhan Zaidi their president of baseball operations. A lot has changed since then.

In his third season in San Francisco, Zaidi's Giants won 107 games but lost in the first round of the postseason. The next morning, Zaidi got a message from Erik Neander, who holds the same position with the Tampa Bay Rays. Zaidi and Neander are co-chairmen of this year's GM Meetings, held in Carlsbad.

"He sent me a text saying, 'Hey, we've got to start getting ready to chair these meetings.' That was a joke, and I wound up talking to him and it was a great conversation," Zaidi said recently on Giants Talk. "But yeah, that's the nature of the beast now. It's a year-round enterprise."

There's no time for front office execs to take vacation, even if their season ends earlier than hoped. The Giants have a number of decisions to make in the first five days after the World Series ends. 

They will exercise the $22 million option on Buster Posey's contract, or possibly agree to a multi-year deal, and will turn down a $22 million option on Johnny Cueto, instead paying the buyout. The Giants also hold cheap options on Wilmer Flores ($3.5 million) and Jose Alvarez ($1.5 million) that should be easy decisions.

Those will all be announced in early November, and the Giants must also decide if they want to put the $18.4 million qualifying offer on Brandon Belt. As they do all of that, free agency will officially begin. 

 

That's the start of the offseason calendar. Here are other important dates to know:

Nov. 7: Gold Glove Award winners are announced

Why is MLB announcing major awards on a Sunday night, 10 minutes after "Sunday Night Football" starts? No idea, man. Anyway, Brandon Crawford should win his fourth Gold Glove and Mike Yastrzemski has a shot at his first. 

Nov. 8: Finalists for BBWAA awards are announced

There won't be any drama here for Gabe Kapler, but it'll be interesting to see if Crawford sneaks into the top three in the NL MVP voting. Crawford has only gotten MVP votes one previous time, finishing 12th in 2016. 

Nov. 9: GM Meetings

The biggest question heading into these annual meetings is whether the Mets will actually find someone who wants to lead their baseball operations department before they head out to California. There probably won't be too many huge stories that come out of Carlsbad, but this is a very important week for laying the groundwork for future trades. The Giants are in the market for starting pitching, in particular. 

Nov. 11: Silver Slugger Award winners are announced 

Now this is more like it, MLB. The best hitters at each position will be honored during a show on MLB Network that starts at 3 p.m. Posey has a very good shot at winning his fifth Silver Slugger and first since 2017. Crawford had the best offensive season of his career, but Fernando Tatis Jr. is taking it home for shortstops. 

Nov. 16: Manager of the Year is announced

The only real question for Kapler: How close to unanimous will this vote be? He should easily become the first Giant to win the award since Dusty Baker in 2000. The announcement will be made on MLB Network.

Nov. 17: Cy Young winner is announced

Kevin Gausman was headed for a spot on this show for much of the season but tailed off in the second half. Still, Gausman was likely listed on a lot of five-man ballots. The favorites to win are Max Scherzer and Corbin Burnes. 

Nov. 18: NL MVP is announced

Crawford finished sixth in the NL in WAR, but anyone who watched the Giants steamroll teams for six months knows his value goes well beyond the numbers. He played Gold Glove-caliber defense and answered the bell just about every day for Kapler, and he was the biggest individual reason the Giants won the NL West. We'll find out on this day how the national media valued all of that. The favorites to win are Bryce Harper and Tatis, with Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Austin Riley also in the mix. 

Nov. 19: Deadline for Rule 5 Draft

Teams have until this day to add players eligible for December's Rule 5 Draft to their 40-man roster. It seems like a very minor date on the calendar, but in reality it often ends up being a huge deal. Last year, the Giants added a young and inexperienced right-hander named Camilo Doval to their 40-man roster. They also added Kervin Castro and Gregory Santos, both of whom made their MLB debuts in 2021, and Zaidi made it clear at the time that he felt it was a pretty important day for the organization. 

 

Dec. 1: Non-Tender deadline

Teams have until this day to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, and the Giants have some big decisions to make. Alex Dickerson is due about $3 million, and the Giants may decide that's too much for a player who was limited to pinch-hit duty down the stretch. Austin Slater, projected to get a raise to about $2 million, is another interesting case, as is Curt Casali. 

Dec. 1: Collective Bargaining Agreement expires

The single most important date on the calendar this year. The Associated Press recently reported that a work stoppage is "almost certain," but the two sides did meet earlier this week to continue to try and hammer out a deal. There's a lot of uncertainty even within front offices about what would happen if a deal isn't reached by midnight on Dec. 1. That would essentially bring a halt to all offseason business and possibly delay the start of spring training.

RELATED: NL West rival Padres hit home run with shocking Melvin hire

 

Dec. 6-9: Winter Meetings

Maybe?

After going virtual last year, the Winter Meetings are set to return in Orlando, but nobody around the game really seems to have a good idea of what's going to happen if labor peace isn't reached the week before. If there is a new CBA, this will be the busiest week of the offseason. If there's not, everyone might just head down the street to Disney World. 

Dec. 9 Rule 5 Draft

Held on the final morning of the Winter Meetings, this has become a sneaky-interesting event for the Giants. They have taken four players in the first round of the MLB portion of the Rule 5 Draft since Zaidi took over, including hard-throwing right-hander Dedniel Nuñez, who was going to make the team last spring before needing Tommy John surgery.

The Giants don't have as much flexibility on their roster -- particularly in the bullpen -- as they did in previous offseasons, but you can still expect this front office to try and snag a player they really like and see what happens in Scottsdale. 

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