Today marks the beginning of the MLB awards season as the Rookie of the Year winners for both the American and National Leagues will be announced. Mike Trout should be the runaway winner in the A.L. and Bryce Harper is the favorite among a wide-open field in the senior circuit. On Tuesday, MLB will announce the Manager of the Year winners for both leagues. FanSided writers have already voted and you can see our results by visiting our Cleveland Indians site, Wahoo’s on First.
Awards week continues as the Cy Young and MVP Awards are handed out on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Thursday also marks the beginning of the final round of qualifiers for this year’s World Baseball Classic. Games between teams making a final push to be in this year’s tournament are being played in Panama and Taiwan and will run through Monday. The WBC will be held in March; more on that later.
The last day of November is also the non-tender deadline. We could see another wave of players hit the Free Agent market at that time.
This year’s Winter Baseball Meetings will be held in Nashville starting December 3 and running through December 6. This is where the Hot Stove really heats up and we start to see players changing uniforms. The Rule 5 draft is held on the final day of the meetings and, once again, Houston has the first pick. I can hardly wait to see what Jeff Luhnow has up his sleeve this time.
Salary arbitration figures must be exchanged by January 18. Arbitration hearings will begin on February 4. The Astros have four players who are arbitration eligible; Wilton Lopez, Jed Lowrie, Bud Norris, and Wesley Wright. These four should only cost a combined total of around $8 million for 2013.
Players will begin reporting to Spring Training some time around February 12 and the mandatory reporting date for most teams is February 20. The Astros first exhibition game is scheduled for February 23, against the Phillies.
The WBC Tournament gets underway March 2 in Japan. First round games will also be played at Chase Field in Phoenix. Second round action will take place at the Tokyo Dome and Marlins Park. The Finals are slated for March 17 through 19 at A.T.& T. Park in San Francisco. I’m not much of a fan of the WBC. I think it interferes with the players and their regular routines of getting ready for the season.
The biggest date to mark on your calendar is April 2, 2013. That’s when the Astros play their first game as members of the American League West. The Astros open at home against their new rivals, the Texas Rangers. 141 days… and counting. Hopefully we all have Comcast SportsNet Houston by then.