Key dates for 2020-21 MLB offseason


With the World Series and 2020 Major League Baseball season nearing conclusion, it’s time to look ahead to the offseason and 2021.

The Fall Classic will end Tuesday or Wednesday, which will officially mark the beginning of the offseason. Free agency will open, and award season, the GM and Winter Meetings, and eventually spring training, will follow.

Here’s your ultimate guide to the next four months.

Oct. 28 

Players on expiring deals will become free agents a day after the World Series ends. The date depends on whether the Dodgers wrap things up in Game 6 on Tuesday or a decisive Game 7 is needed on Wednesday.

Similarly, those signed to big league deals can’t be traded until a day after the World Series ends.

Nov. 1

-Free agents can sign with a new team starting five days after the World Series ends. 

-Player, team, mutual and vesting contract options must be exercised no later than five days after the World Series ends. 

-Teams also have until five days after the World Series to extend qualifying offers (a one-year deal) to their free agents. The 2021 salary is worth $18.9 million. Players then have 10 days to accept or reject the offer. If they reject it and sign elsewhere, their previous team receives draft compensation.

Teams can only extend qualifying offers to players who have never received it before and those who spent the entire season on their roster (those acquired midseason are therefore ineligible).


Nov. 2: Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and MVP finalists will be announced at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network.


Nov. 3: Gold Glove Award winners will be announced at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Nov. 9-12: BBWAA award winners will be announced one-by-one over a four-day span in order of Rookies of the Year, Managers of the Year, Cy Youngs and MVPs. Announcement shows will air on MLB Network each day at 5 p.m.

Nov. 20

Players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft must be added to their team’s 40-man roster by 7 p.m. CT or they will be exposed to the draft. 

In the Rule 5 Draft, teams (in reverse standings order) are allowed to select certain non-40-man roster players from other clubs. Eligible players are those:

-Signed at 18 years old or younger who were not added to the 40-man roster within five seasons. 

-Signed at 19 years old or older who were not added to the 40-man roster within four seasons.

  • The General Manager Meetings will be held virtually in November.

Dec. 2

The non-tender deadline is 7 p.m. Teams must tender arbitration-eligible players on the 40-man roster contracts by this deadline. The players who are not tendered contracts immediately become free agents.

Oftentimes, players are non-tendered because they are projected to make more in arbitration than teams deem their value to be.

Dec. 6-10

-The Winter Meetings, where clubs annually gather to conduct trades/free agent signings, are scheduled to take place in Dallas at the Omni Dallas Hotel and Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas. Whether they go virtual due to COVID-19 remains to be seen.

-The Rule 5 Draft traditionally occurs on the final day of the Winter Meetings, which is Dec. 10 this year.

Jan. 15, 2021

Teams and arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts have until noon on Jan. 15 to agree to a salary, which generally is based on performance and comparable players from recent seasons. If they do not agree to a salary by Jan. 15, each side submits a figure and goes to a hearing in February with a panel of arbitrators. 

Feb. 27, 2021

Spring training games begin, though MLB has said the schedule is subject to change.

Download MyTeams Today!