The Non-Tender Deadline
The Blue Jays have 11 players who are eligible for arbitration, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Danny Jansen, Trevor Richards, Trent Thronton, Ryan Borucki, and Cavan Biggio (he will go through four years of the process) all heading into their first year. Adam Cimber, Tim Mayza, and Teoscar Hernandez head into their second year while Jose Berrios and Ross Stripling enter their last year of arbitration before being eligible for free agency next winter.
The deadline to offer pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players a contract is December 1st, the same day the CBA expires. Any player who does not receive a contract offer by this day is now a free agent and allowed to sign with any team they chose.
Looking at the current lineup, there doesn’t appear to be any player who the Blue Jays might not tender a contract when it comes to salary or performance. They could decide to non-tender Thronton or Borucki if they are looking for some spots on the 40-man roster but considering both players are projected to command less than $1 million, it seems unlikely they will be dropped.
A Collective Bargaining Agreement Set to Expire
As I mentioned above, the CBA is set to expire on December 1st. The MLB and the MLBPA could hammer out a new deal by this time, making this date irrelevant, but if the two sides do not come to an agreement, there is potentially a work stoppage on the horizon until a new agreement is in place.
If the owners decide to lock out the players, then there will certainly be no signings or trades taking place as there will be no money for the front office to use to sign anyone.
So are the negotiations close?
Without going too far down the rabbit hole, right now there is no agreement in place and each side has recently rejected a proposed CBA, meaning there is still a potential for a work stoppage come early December. There are quite a few issues on the table, such as how much money the players are entitled to (revenue sharing wise), free agency eligibility, designated hitter in the NL, and a whole smorgasbord of other issues that each side is hell-bent on discussing and acting on.
Obviously, nobody wants a work stoppage. Considering how last season played out with COVID-19 and how both sides lost a ton of money, it could be a few months before anything gets agreed upon and could easily drag into the new year.
There is a possibility that some form of a lockout does occur, potentially delaying the start of spring training and maybe even the regular season, but this will hopefully be avoided and a more likely scenario of a CBA being completed around the New Year and a flurry of deals for top players in January and February to follow.
I have already covered a few important dates earlier in the article but here are a few remaining ones to keep an eye out for:
Nov 19: Last day to add eligible minor league players to the 40-man roster
Dec 6-9: Winter Meetings in Florida (possibly cancelled if there is a lock out)
Dec 9: Rule 5 Draft
Jan 14: Deadline for teams and arbitration players to file salary figures before heading to arbitration. Both sides can still hammer out a deal before the arbitration date regardless of what the previously filed salary figures were on Jan 14th.
Jan 15: International signing period opens
First two weeks in February: Arbitration hearings