The MLB offseason officially kicked off Sunday ... with a whisper.
There were some qualifying offers made, players who came off the 60-day injured list -- Tyler Beede, Aramis Garcia and Reyes Moronta for the Giants -- and some other procedural moves, but there were no signings, no bombshell announcements or intriguing rumors.
Things will heat up later this month, but this is expected to be one of the worst markets for free agents in recent MLB history.
After a short season played without fans, teams are not exactly eager to spend. There still will be plenty to talk about, though.
Here are some important dates to know:
Nov. 3 -- Gold Glove announcement: Apparently there's nothing else happening this day because this is when MLB and Rawlings decided to announce the Gold Glove winners during a 4 p.m. PST show on ESPN. Brandon Belt is one of three nominees at first base and has a decent shot to win. He has finished first or second in the metric used to determine the winner in each of the last three seasons.
Nov. 11 -- Qualifying offer deadline: This is the deadline for players to accept the qualifying offer -- $18.9 million -- or reject it and allow their club to collect draft pick compensation. The Giants surprised some around the game by tagging Kevin Gausman, but they had good reason to do so. They would like to sign Gausman to a multi-year deal, but if he prefers to play out 2021 at a high salary and try again next offseason, they’ll still have a starter for the top of their rotation -- albeit for a bit more than they probably would hope. If he bolts they’ll get a draft pick, as they did last offseason when Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith signed elsewhere.
Nov. 12 -- NL MVP is announced: This is the last day of BBWAA awards week, and while the Giants won't have anyone win an award -- or even come close -- it'll be interesting to see how Mike Yastrzemski and Belt fared. Neither has ever gotten an MVP vote, but ballots go 10 deep and both should have some down-ballot support.
Nov. 20 -- Deadline to protect minor leaguers from the Rule 5 Draft: The Giants have two no-brainers in outfielder Alexander Canario and right-hander Camilo Doval, the latter of whom could debut next year. Right-hander Tyler Cyr is also a strong candidate to be protected.
Dec. 2 -- Deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players: This was a dramatic day last year, as Kevin Pillar was a surprise non-tender. The Giants had 11 players who were arb-eligible, although Joey Rickard has since been outrighted to Triple-A. They could face some tough decisions, particularly with left-hander Tyler Anderson and utility man Daniel Robertson. Around the game, non-tender day is expected to be a bit of a bloodbath this year.
Dec. 7 -- All-MLB team is announced: Belt, Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano are nominees.
Dec. 7-10 -- MLB's annual Winter Meetings: These will be held "remotely as necessary" instead of in Dallas as planned. It's unclear what that means, and hopefully teams are still required to provide some sort of access. Aside from that being a week when there's lots of action, it's a good chance for reporters and fans to find out a lot about the direction of the Giants, as Farhan Zaidi generally holds court the first three nights and Gabe Kapler does a press conference. We'll see what it looks like this year.
Dec. 10 -- Rule 5 Draft: This is actually strangely fun to attend in person, as hundreds of executives, scouts and reporters gather in a big conference room and there's a lot of chatter before and after the picks. The Giants have taken three players -- Dany Jimenez, Travis Bergen and Drew Ferguson -- in Zaidi's two years in charge, although they've yet to hit on a contributor.
Jan. 5 -- 2021 international signing period opens: This typically happens in July but MLB moved it back this year because of the pandemic. MLB.com has an excellent rundown of the class and has reported that the Giants are favored to sign Diego Velasquez, a shortstop they rank 21st in the class.
Mid-January -- Hall of Fame announcement: Barry Bonds has two more years on the ballot. He got 60.7 percent of the vote this year, but he needs a pretty healthy bump to be in a position to make it on his last turn.
April 1 -- Opening Day: The Giants kick it off in Seattle, and they hope to do so in front of fans. We'll see.