A quick look at the Off-Season calendar gives us some important dates for the upcoming week:
Tuesday, November 30th - Last date (midnight deadline) for ranking free agents to accept arbitration offers. 35 players were tendered arbitration offers this past week, including Pirates’ top target Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa is unlikely to accept arbitration, although some players will certainly accept their arbitration offers. Currently the latest the Pirates will pick in the 2011 2nd round is 69th, although they move up a spot with each player that accepts arbitration (or with each player that re-signs with his former team). The Pirates would lose that second round pick if they were to sign De La Rosa, although that’s far from a guarantee.
Thursday, December 2nd - Last date for teams to tender offers to arbitration eligible players. The Pirates have five players who are arbitration eligible: Ross Ohlendorf (Super Two), Joel Hanrahan, Ronny Cedeno, Lastings Milledge, and Jeff Karstens. All five are expected to be tendered arbitration offers. The deadline could also provide some external options from players who get non-tendered by other teams. Some options that would be a good fit for the Pirates are first baseman James Loney and/or shortstop Ryan Theriot of the Los Angeles Dodgers, or shortstop J.J. Hardy of the Minnesota Twins.
Thursday is also the deadline for teams to request outright waivers on a player to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the Rule 5 draft. The deadline to outright a player off the roster is Monday, December 6th, and it’s likely that we won’t hear of any moves on this front until that date.
The free agent market is starting to heat up, and things should continue to heat up with arbitration decisions being made this week, and non-tender options hitting the market.