With the World Series about to start in just a few days, the offseason is right around the corner. A couple of months ago, Joe and I discussed how the Major League offseason contains some vagaries that many fans don’t completely understand. From the way free agency works, to the arbitration system, to exactly how the Rule 5 draft works, the offseason procedure isn’t exactly transparent. I thought starting with the basic schedule would be helpful, and the timing works right now, as the start of the MLB offseason is tied to the end of the World Series.

Right After World Series: Eligible Article XX(B) players become free agents. XX(B) players are what are thought of as “standard” free agents. They have more than 6 years of service time and are beyond team control.

Fourth Day After World Series: Last date to request waivers on Draft-excluded players until next spring. My understanding is that “Draft” being referenced is the Rule 5 draft.

Fifth Day After World Series: (1) Last date to reinstate players from 60-day disabled list; (2) last date to outright potential Minor League free agent without Major League contract, if permissible; (3) last date for former club to tender qualifying offer to XX(B) players; (4) Minor League players become free agents at 5 p.m. ET, if applicable.

Sixth Day After World Series: XX(B) and Minor League free agents may sign with all clubs.

Twelfth Day After World Series: Last date for XX(B) players to accept qualifying offer from former club.

November 10, 2013: Outright waivers secured on or after September 1 expire at 5 p.m. ET.

November 11, 2013: New waiver period begins.

November 11-13, 2013: GM/Owners Meetings.

November 18, 2013: Last date to ask outright waivers on an injured player, if permissible.

November 20, 2013: (1) Last date to outright an injured player to the Minor Leagues, if permissible; (2)reserve lists for all Major and Minor League levels filed.

December 2, 2013: Tender deadline for arbitration eligible players.

December 5, 2013: Last date to request outright waivers to assign player prior to Rule 5 Draft.

December 9, 2013: Last date to outright a player prior to Rule 5 Draft.

December 9-12, 2013: Winter Meetings.

December 12, 2013: Rule 5 Draft.

February 2014: Arbitration Hearings.

At the least, I plan on covering free agency (including free agent tenders), arbitration, the winter meetings, and the Rule 5 Draft. I’ll also cover how we can expect these items to affect the Cubs this offseason. However, if there are any particular items you find interesting, please leave them in the comments and we’ll see if we can expand this series to cover them.

Oh, also, on this World Series Eve: Booo Cardinals! Booo! The actual language I’d like to use is a bit more colorful, but this is a family friendly website.

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Noah Eisner is a Chicago attorney living in the western suburbs with his wife and son (and impending daughter). When he isn’t practicing law or entertaining a toddler, Noah follows Cubs baseball with a focus on the farm system and sabermetric analysis. His Cubs-related ramblings can be followed on Twitter @Noah_Eisner.