What to watch for: Important upcoming dates

While it’s the offseason and there are no baseball games being played across the major leagues, there are plenty of dates every fan should keep an eye on.

The first is the MLB Winter Meetings, Dec. 10-14. Since every team sends executives to this event, and everyone is hanging out in the same hotel for nearly a week, the meetings are intensely followed and could potentially change the landscape of baseball. In past years we have seen names like Alex Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, CC Sabathia and Albert Pujols all find themselves on new teams during these meetings. This year the big name is Giancarlo Stanton. At the end of the meetings, the Rule 5 Draft will determine if any non-rostered Phillie goes somewhere else.

The next date will hold a lot more weight with Phillies fans in a couple years, when guys like Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro become eligible, but this year it’s still of importance. That is the MLB Arbitration deadline, Jan. 13. Teams and eligible players have to submit figures for potential arbitration battles by this date, so typically deals are worked out beforehand to avoid arbitration. Expect to hear names like Randal Grichuck, Kris Bryant, Robbie Ray, Alex WoodAdeiny Hechavarria and Nick Castellanos during this time, as their teams may come to terms with them on or before the date.

Soon after that we’ll find out who makes the Hall of Fame, Jan. 24. While some big names from the past couple of years remain on the list, the ballot also includes first timers with great credentials (Chipper Jones) and slightly worse credentials (Carlos Zambrano). There are also seven former Phillies on the list, including likely hall of famer Jim Thome, plus Jamie Moyer, Scott Rolen  and Brad Lidge.

Also on the agenda is the start of spring training, around Feb. 13. And opening day is March 29. We’re a ways from that, though.

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