As the offseason continues to roll along, here are three things we’ll be watching throughout the day today:
1. Qualifying Offer Decisions Due Today
The 14 players who received qualifying offers must either accept or decline the offer by 3:00p, central time this afternoon. While most of these players will make the easy and obvious decision to reject the QO, a few players have a more interesting decision on their hands. Rangers lefty Martin Perez is an example of someone who may accept a QO, though he joins Red Sox righty Nathan Eovaldi as someone who is in negotiations with his 2022 club on a multi-year deal, which could be ironed out in place of the one-year, $19.65MM QO contract. Such a deal could even occur after this deadline as passed, as was the case for Jose Abreu and the White Sox after the 2019 season. Giants outfielder Joc Pederson, Dodgers lefty Tyler Anderson and Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo are among the other candidates to accept the offer, though Rizzo has already reportedly drawn strong interest from the Astros even in spite of his QO.
2. Rule 5 Deadline Looms This Evening
Teams must set their 40-man rosters in advance of the upcoming Rule 5 Draft by 5:00pm central time this evening. Seeing as there was no major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft last offseason, teams will have more prospects than usual in need of protection, potentially resulting in a larger roster crunch than usual for many teams. The Rays have already made a pair of moves to clear roster space, and are expected to make more trades before the deadline tonight. While they may be among the most active teams today, it’s safe to say most teams will be making roster moves throughout the day leading up to this evening’s deadline.
3. Manager Of The Year Results Announced Tonight
Awards season continues tonight with the AL and NL Manager of the Year awards being announced this evening. In the AL, Terry Francona of the Guardians, Brandon Hyde of the Orioles, and Scott Servais of the Mariners are the finalists, while in the NL, it’ll be either Brian Snitker of the Braves, Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, or Buck Showalter of the Mets. Each finalist has an interesting case for the award to set themselves apart from the rest of the field. Francona’s Guardians achieved a surprise division title, overtaking the favored White Sox and Twins despite an extremely young roster and a far lower payroll than either of their division rivals. Hyde and the Orioles, despite not making the postseason, also massively overperformed expectations, staying in the postseason hunt through most of September after years of 100 loss seasons. Servais, meanwhile, led a Mariners club that ended the longest active playoff drought in the sport, bringing playoff baseball back to Seattle for the first time since 2001. Roberts and the Dodgers delivered a monster 111-win season that stands among the best in history, while Buck Showalter returned to the dugout to lead the Mets to a 100-win season of their own. Snitker, meanwhile, makes his case through Atlanta’s impressive September in which they ran down Showalter’s Mets for the division title. Results will be announced at 5:00pm central time this evening.