The task facing KC Royals general manager J.J. Picollo this winter — retooling and greatly improving his club's roster after a maddening 106-loss season — is daunting. Saddled with a lack of quality players he's willing to trade and who the Royals can afford to deal away without further delaying a return to contention, and a team checkbook principal owner John Sherman may not be quite ready to open wide, Picollo will have to work hard to make the Royals better than they've been for the past several years.
His options are these: build from within, which is always the club's stated preference, swing meaningful trades, sign good free agents, or mix and match between those three options.
But whatever methods Picollo chooses, he'll closely watch a baseball calendar chock full of critical dates and deadlines.
Here they are.
The 2023 World Series gets underway — Oct. 28
Don't expect Picollo to make any moves during this year's Fall Classic. The major league powers-that-be frown on and discourage creating major news while the Series is being played. But how long the Series lasts is vitally important to the offseason — not until it's over can clubs engage in much more than waiver transactions, DFA's, and releases.
The player markets open — 1 day after the World Series concludes
The off-field offseason fun begins almost as soon as the Series ends. The very next day, even while the new champions still celebrate, free agency opens, albeit with some short-term limitations, and clubs can begin making trades.
Moving on to more key dates...