Dates to remember as the Astros’ offseason unfolds

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HOUSTON, TX - JULY 11: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow speaks with the media about the demotion of closer Ken Giles to Triple-A Fresno after his meltdown in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park on July 11, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 11: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow speaks with the media about the demotion of closer Ken Giles to Triple-A Fresno after his meltdown in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park on July 11, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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There is no more meaningful major league baseball left to be played this year, but a potentially busy offseason is about to begin.

The Astros, like the other 29 franchises, have plans for the offseason. Each team has to ask itself specific questions every winter. To contend or not to contend? How about furthering a rebuild? How about in between? These plans could include trade proposals, potential free agent signings, or ways to adjust the roster through self-improvement.

General manager Jeff Luhnow’s task this offseason is to supplement the roster with quality players in light of potentially losing some of his own. While it is still within the realm of possibility for the Astros to retain free agents like Dallas Keuchel, Marwin Gonzalez, Martin Maldonado, and Charlie Morton, it isn’t a guarantee. The same can be said of other teams and their free agents.

Every transaction from the Astros during the upcoming offseason is with one single goal in mind: Capturing another World Series title. Base on the returning talent, another run at the World Series is plausible. But it won’t be easy as multiple teams are also aiming for the same goal. Here are some important dates to remember as another baseball offseason is about to take off.

  • October 29th: The start of an exclusive five-day negotiating period between teams and their free agents.
  • October 31st: Players with opt-out clauses must be exercised by this date.
  • November 3rd: The deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to their free agents. Players have ten days to consider the qualifying offer and can still negotiate with other teams during this window. Following a 5 PM ET deadline on this date, all free agents are free to negotiate with other clubs.
  • November 6th-8th: Annual general managers meeting; this year the meetings take place in Carlsbad, California.
  • November 13th: The final day for free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers from their previous club.
  • November 20th: In anticipation for the Rule V draft, teams have to set their 40-man roster by this date.
  • November 30th: For arbitration-eligible players, this is the last date teams can tender contracts.
  • December 9th-13th: Annual winter meetings; this year the meetings take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • January 11th: Teams and players are required to exchange contract figures on this date for arbitration.
  • Sometime in mid-February: Astros’ pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach, Florida for spring training.
  • February 23rd: Astros open Grapefruit League action against the Nationals. Houston is designated as the “road” team as Washington is selected as the “home” squad as both clubs share the same spring training facilities.
  • February 24th: Astros first Grapefruit League game in 2019 as the “home” team.
  • March 25th-26th: Two exhibition games against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park.
  • March 28th: Astros’ Opening Day against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Astros' Collin McHugh, Brent Strom to represent team for All-Star Tour in Japan. dark. Next

The Astros have a busy offseason in front of them. The road back to the World Series will not be easy as the AL West will likely remain quite competitive along with potential postseason rivals in other divisions like the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, and Rays.

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