Rangers Remaining Offseason Dates to Remember

Chris Halicke

With Thanksgiving now behind us, the baseball offseason now turns a corner. Significant dates lay ahead for the Rangers and the other 29 clubs in Major League Baseball that all play a factor in setting their rosters for the next season. Here are some important dates to remember. 

December 2nd: Non-Tender Deadline

All teams have until this date to submit a contract offer to their pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players. 

The players don't have to be signed by this point, but a contract has to be offered to them to keep them on the team's 40-man roster. If a player does not receive a contract offer, they are "non-tendered" and become a free agent. 

December 9th-12th: Winter Meetings

When it comes to the baseball offseason, this is the main event. This is when news and especially rumors fly off the shelf and you can't refresh your Twitter feed fast enough to keep up with everything.

The main people in attendance are player agents and every team's managers and general managers. Deals tend to get done faster due to face-to-face meetings, but recently, there have been quiet Winter Meetings where deals (trades or signings) don't get done, but enough groundwork is laid to get them done faster.

The Winter Meetings meant a lot more before the digital age where now it's so easy to instantly have meetings with agents or other teams, but this is still an ideal time where teams do the majority of the legwork in offseason pursuits.

December 12th: Rule 5 Draft

This is the opportunity teams have to draft a player from another organization that is not on their 40-man roster. Any player drafted has to remain on the team's active roster for the entirety of the 2020 season, or they must go through waivers and be offered back to their original team.

With MLB adding a 26th spot to the active roster, this could be an unprecedented year for the Rule 5 Draft. Teams might be more willing to use a roster spot for a fringe player that may have a lot of upside. 

January 10th: Arbitration Deadline

This is the deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to each submit their desired salaries. Teams offer what they believe is fair to pay the player and the player submits what he believes he should be paid for the upcoming season. A team and player can continue to negotiate a contract after salary figures have been offered. 

Most teams agree to a contract with their arbitration-eligible players before this date. The Rangers have not gone into arbitration hearings under Jon Daniels' tenure. The last time the Rangers went into arbitration hearings was in 2000 with Lee Stevens. 

February 3rd-21st: Arbitration Hearings

If a team and an arbitration-eligible player cannot agree to terms, they go to an arbitration hearing scheduled in this timeframe. 

Both sides plead their case to a three-person panel and the panel decides which salary figure is fair. They choose either the team's offer or the figure the player filed. 

Spring Training Dates

February 12th: Texas Rangers pitchers and catchers must report to the team's facility in Surprise, Arizona.

February 17th: The Texas Rangers first full team workout. All players on the 40-man roster and non-roster invitees should be in camp prior to this date.

February 21st: The Rangers' first Spring Training game vs the Kansas City Royals, with whom they share Surprise Ballpark. 

March 23rd: The Rangers' final exhibition game before the regular season vs the St. Louis Cardinals. This will be the first baseball game ever played at Globe Life Field.

Opening Day Dates

March 26th: MLB's Opening Day, where the Rangers begin their season with a four-game series at T-Mobile Park to face the Seattle Mariners. 

March 31st: The Texas Rangers' home opener vs the Los Angeles Angels and first regular season game at Globe Life Field. 

Follow SI Rangers Maven on Twitter: @RangersMavenSI

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