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The Diamondbacks off-season starts here

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I'd like to thank the 2015 baseball season for showing up.

Now, what?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a calendar listing some of what will be happening across the long, dark winter months between now and next Opening Day. But it's not actually all that long. Pitches and catchers report in just 108 days, folks!

2015

  • November 6 -- Deadline for qualifying offers to free agents. Free agency begins
  • November 9-12 -- GM meetings, Florida
  • November 9-19 - Awards season!
    9th: Players Choice Awards
    10th: Gold Glove winners
    11th: Defensive Player of Year
    12th: Silver Sluggers
    16th: Rookies of Year
    17th: Managers of Year
    18th: Cy Young winners
    19th: MVP winners
  • November 13 - Deadline for free agents to accept or decline qualifying offers.
  • December 2: Last day to offer 2016 contracts to unsigned players on 40-man roster
  • December 7-10 -- Winter meetings, Tennessee

2016

  • January 7 - Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 announced
  • January 12 -- Salary arbitration begins
  • January 15 -- Deadline for exchange of arbitration figures
  • February 1-21 -- Arbitration hearings
  • February 18 -- Voluntary spring training reporting for pitchers and catchers.
  • February 23 -- Voluntary spring training reporting date for other players
  • March 1 -- Mandatory reporting date
  • April 3 -- Opening night
  • April 4 -- Opening Day

It will be interesting to see how the free-agent market breaks down this winter, particularly as far as starting pitching goes, since that will be the main focus of the Diamondbacks interest [whether they go for a free agent or through a trade, the two are not unrelated] There are various factors working in tension with each other. Teams want to be sure of not missing out - we saw that a couple of years ago, when our supposed quest for a top of the rotation starter turned into Bronson Arroyo. But a player knows desperation is the mother of large contracts. On the other hand, they don't want to be the one left without a chair to sit in, when the music stops.

Given the team's apparent salary limitations - I still do not quite grasp how, with the money from the new TV deal, we are looking at a lower payroll cap than we had in 2014 - I think it's perhaps more likely we will end up swinging a trade, possibly from our surfeit of outfielders. If that's the case, than the winter meetings, particularly from December 7-10, could be the time most likely to see us in action. Of course, these days, there's no longer anything like as much need for face-to-face meetings, but it does concentrate the mind, having all the players in one place at the same time.

With the team not losing any major players to free agency, I think the early few weeks will be relatively quiet, without much news to report. While it might be sensible for the team to strike sooner, rather than later, when the pool of potential partners is at its largest, doing so will likely mean paying a premium, basically buying out a player's right to test the market to its full extent. That might be another reason to do an end-run around the opposition and make a move on the trade front, before the pool of partners shrinks to the untenable.