2012-2013 Off Season Primer

With the World Series coming to an end last night, the 2012/2013 off-season officially begins today.  Here is a quick primer of all of the off-season topics.

40-Man Rosters

Teams must reinstate players from the 60-day disabled list no later than five days after the end of the World Series, getting their rosters down to 40-men.  The deadline this year is on Friday.  The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have one player on the 60-day disabled list: Charlie Morton.  They will need to clear roster spots for any of those players they wish to retain.

Teams must also make decisions on option years no later than 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday night.  The Pirates have options on Rod Barajas and Pedro Alvarez. Barajas has a $3.5 M option with no buyout. Alvarez has a $700,000 option, which was part of his original contract.

November 20th marks the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters for the 2012 Rule 5 draft.  The players that the Pirates need to protect for the first time this year are detailed in this post.  Teams can make changes to the 40-man roster after November 20th, although they can’t add any new internal players to the roster between November 20th and the 2012 Rule 5 draft, held on December 6th.

As for the actual draft, teams have until November 29th to place a player on waivers in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster so that they can make a selection in the Rule 5 draft.  This is so that they can outright the player off the 40-man roster on December 3rd, which is the deadline for clearing a spot for the draft.

My prediction of the 2012 40-man roster can be found here, minus the Rule 5 additions.

Arbitration Eligible Players

Teams have until November 30th to tender offers to their arbitration eligible players for the 2012 season.  The Pirates have eight players who are eligible for salary arbitration this year: Neil Walker (super two), Garrett Jones, James McDonald, Gaby Sanchez, Charlie Morton, Chris Resop, Joel Hanrahan, and Jeff Karstens.  Earlier this month we looked at all of the arbitration eligible players, and their salary projections.

Once offers are tendered, the two sides (the team and the player) will work to reach an agreement.  If no agreement can be reached, the two sides file for arbitration, between the dates of January 5th and January 15th.  Once they file for arbitration, the two sides exchange salary figures on January 18th, and have their salary arbitration hearing between February 4th and February 20th.  The sides can reach a deal outside of the arbitration process at any time before the actual hearing, even immediately before the scheduled hearing.

If the negotiations do reach the hearing, both sides will argue their case for the salary they submitted, and the three person arbitration panel will determine which salary is more appropriate for the player.  All decisions made by the panel are final, although the club and the player are free to re-negotiate the deal.

Free Agency

October 29th at 12:01 AM EST marks the beginning of a five day period in which teams retain exclusive negotiating rights with their players who qualify for free agency.  The Pirates have four players who qualifies for free agency: Kevin Correia, Jason Grilli, Chad Qualls, and Hisanori Takahashi.  Rod Barajas would be added to this list if his option is bought out.  Pending free agents can have general discussions with other clubs during this five day period, but can’t discuss contract details or sign with a new team until 12:01 AM EST, November 3rd.

In previous years, free agency moved slow because of the process with ranked free agents. This year is the first year of the new changes under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which reduces the amount of ranked free agents. It’s unknown how this could impact the free agent market. In prior years the market usually started to heat up around the winter meetings, which was also right after the ranked free agents became official.


The two notable meetings that take place in the off-season are the GM/Owners meetings, and the more popular Winter Meetings.  The General Manager’s meetings take place on November 7-8, and the Owners’ Meetings take place November 8-9.  Not much occurs during these meetings, although it provides an opportunity for the General Managers to meet face to face, and possibly start discussions on potential trades.

The Winter Meetings take place on December 3-6.  The Winter Meetings usually marks the time when free agency starts to heat up.

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The Pirates need to make every effort to sign Anibal Sanchez this offseason. With this winter being an apparent make-or-break offseason for Huntington & staff, the front office needs to closed the deal with Sanchez that they couldn’t close on Jorge de le Rosa in 2011 & Edwin Jackson this past offseason. If the Bucs offer Sanchez 5 years @ $60M, that could get a deal done. Sanchez would be a great fit between Burnett & Wandy in the rotation and could possibly take pressure off JMac thinking he needs to be a top-of-the-rotation guy.

The Pirates should also use Hanrahan as trade bait this offseason for a no.1 catcher. I’m sure other pieces will be needed to make it happen, but it’s necessary. A deal involving Hanrahan for Dodgers catching prospect Tim Federowicz would be nice and not the least bit unrealistic. Ned Colletti is the Dodgers GM & gave the Pirates JMac for Octavio Dotel a couple years ago. Make it happen, Neal!

La Pirate

I think it would be crazy not to try and sign Grilli. He was the best pen arm we had for most of the season. I also think he could close in the event Hanrahan is traded. Tim, what do you think it would take to sign Grilli and do you think the Pirates will make that move?


36 years old next year, I like the guy, but not a multi-year market value contract. 4.32 ERA 1.40 WHIP in the 2nd half of the season. If he is available on a one year deal for less than $3 million, sure, if not, pass.


We have lots of internal options for the bullpen…Victor Black, Bryan Morris, maybe even somebody like Duke Welker. I don’t see the FO resigning Grilli considering his age and the fact that his numbers last year seem to be inconsistent with his career numbers. Unless it’s an extremely team-friendly deal that is…

Lee Young

Tim….you just tweeted that you like Scott Baker. Why?

He’s given up more Hits than IP in his career.
1.2 HR per 9 IP in his career.
I’ve seen him pitch.

He is basically Kevin Correia only maybe worse.

I don’t want him!

Hoka Foo


Not a bad cheaper option, but wouldn’t one bigger ticket make more sense to put up top with AJ? Maybe Jon Lester if Boston wants to move him? Maybe one of the several #2 -3 SP available?

The spread the FA dollars approach certainly hasn’t worked well for NH thus far.


Earlier you ‘reported’ that Barajas’s option didn’t have to be bought out. Now it does.

Oh well, accuracy isn’t everything.

Lee Young

jlease….lots of Pirate sites said that. Not just here.

Not sure why you come here since you think Tim is such a lousy reporter. Makes no sense.


Tim, when do teams have to decide to offer a contract (13.5 million) to pending free agents to determine pick compensation? Is it the same as the arbitration deadline in December?


FYI, the deadline for FA compensation offers is this Friday. So teams will know which FA will cost them a pick early.

Also, teams only get 1 comp pick (after round 1) if they lose a player, not two like before. The signing team forfeits its pick, but the pick disappears and does not go to the original team.


I don’t think Mr.Nutting ever said he was going to announce his findings about the 2nd half collapse, that is something the media in Pitt is clamoring for because they can’t figure it out themselves and they need something to trash the Pirates with, no news is not good news for the media. Nutting can’t say anything about the collapse that he is not going to be blasted for.

Lee Young

leadoff…agree….Bob never said anything about the original Hoka email. Why would he say anything now? What does he care about the opinion of a writer of a small paper?
Dejan is grasping at phone poles.


Tim, I’ll echo the sentiments above and say thanks for the valuable info and the links back to the previous posts. Great stuff.

One question about the timeline for a non-traditional part of the off-season: has Mr. Nutting given a date where he’ll announce the findings of his investigation into the second consecutive collapse?


Tim: Thank you for the primer – it should serve as a valuable reference. Of the 4 players who will be FA’s, I hope the Pirates make a strong pitch for Jason Grilli. He seems to be very comfortable in Pittsburgh and he is having success like he has never known before. He is one of those guys who will be a key to success for the bullpen in 2013. He was excellent in 2012 and there is no reason to think he would not be just as good in 2013.


Thanks Tim,
Kevin Correia, Jason Grilli, Chad Qualls, and Hisanori Takahashi. Rod Barajas. I don’t think they will retain any of these players. They will have to replace Correia and Grilli and that should not be that difficult, but the catcher position is very difficult to replace, there are no free agent catchers that would make the Pirates a better team, I think the trade market is the only move they can make for a catcher, but these guys are like finding gold, no position is tougher to fill these days. The more I watch Posey, the more I think he would have been the best pick for the Pirates instead of Alvarez, even though I think Alvarez could turn out to be a real jewel, I just think a top catcher is that valuable, especially after losing Weiters.

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