Yes! It’s almost time for the 2020-2021 MLB Hot Stove to begin. With the World Series stage now set (Rays vs Dodgers), the clock begins ticking for one of the most exciting aspects of baseball: The Hot Stove season. Check out mlb.com’s article for a full schedule of the 2021 MLB offseason,
When the World Series begins today, it starts the official countdown until Hot Stove begins. Players must wait five days after the final World Series game before being allowed to declare free agency. This means that Hot Stoc=ve could begin as early as Thursday, October 29th (should there be a sweep in the World Series), or it could start as late as Monday, November 2nd, should the World Series go a full seven games. Either way, the countdown is on.
2020-2021 MLB Hot Stove Free Agent Class
The free-agent class of 2021-2021 is what will make up the bulk of the MLB Hot Stove activity, though trades, arbitration, DFA’s and non-tenders will also play a major role.
In all, this year’s free-agent class consists of 22 catchers, 18 first basemen, 21 second basemen, 10 shortstops, 15 third basemen, 12 left-fielders, 8 center-fielders, 17 right-fielders, 14 designated hitters, 47 starting pitchers, 41 right-handed relievers, and 13 lefty relievers. This list doesn’t include players who may be DFA’d or non-tendered, however, it does include duplicate names for players who play more than one position. The list also includes players with player/team/mutual options.
The Beauty of the MLB Hot Stove Season
Let’s face it – we all have our own opinions, and usually, they’re different than our teams’ front office opinions. Ben Reimer just wrote a piece for Overtime Heroics on pitchers that the Mets should target this winter. I’ve forecasted that the Cubs will be busy this offseason, and day after day, writers from every sports site and blog opine about which teams will (or should) do what.
MLB Hot Stove is a topic that’ll spark debates so furious, they’ll make Donald Trump and Joe Biden look like a pair of amateurs. Before I debate anyone on this topic, I’m going to make damn sure that there are no flies in the office…
The point is, any half-legitimate baseball fan has an opinion on MLB Hot Stove, and while some of those opinions seem more plausible than others, it’s interesting to see how people think. Granted, it always seems as though some of the teams’ front office staff members don’t seem to think, but somewhere there’s some sort of method to the madness.
MLB Hot Stove: Arbitration
Several of MLB’s younger, up and coming players will undergo the arbitration process this winter. This plays a key role in a team’s budget, as it affects the ability to sign free agents, should the team be trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold.
On December 2nd, teams must decide whether or not they’ll tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Those non-tendered will also be launched into free agency, making the pool even bigger.
For the Yankees and Dodgers, money never seems to be an issue, but for smaller market teams like Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Seattle and others, every dime counts.
Most of the 30 MLB teams will be looking to make changes this winter, granted, some more than others, but changes nonetheless. Keep a watchful eye, as players will quickly clear the board which lists the free agents. That is, of course, unless we get holdouts as we saw with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in 2019.
Either way, it’s gonna get interesting. Will teams say “Damn the luxury tax, full steam ahead,” or will they keep the checkbooks closed, and do nothing more than window and bargain shop? We’ll know shortly.
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