The biggest offseason dates KC Royals fans should know

The Royals face an important winter calendar.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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The MLB General Manages meet in Arizona — Nov. 7-9

GM's from every big league franchise, including Picollo, are scheduled to meet in Scottsdale and confer about all things baseball. Unfortunately, though, these meetings aren't what they sometimes used to be. In former days, the confabs often produced in-meeting trades, signings, player news, and rumors; now, however, not as much action takes place, and officials use the days and nights primarily to lay groundwork for future deals.

40-man roster deadline for Rule 5 Draft purposes — Nov. 14

The Royals have until late afternoon to shield players from Rule 5 Draft exposure by adding them to the club's 40-man roster. If players who signed their first contracts when they were 18 or younger, and others who signed at 19 or older, aren't included on that roster within five or four years respectively, they're subject to being snatched up by other teams in December's Rule 5 Draft (more on that momentarily).

The major leagues' annual contract non-tender deadline — Nov. 17

Big league teams have until the Friday before Thanksgiving, in other words Nov. 17, to decide whether to give contracts to players on their 40-man rosters who aren't otherwise subject to continuing deals. Non-tendered players are declared free agents and can sign with any other club.

Non-tenders are frequently used to open up 40-man roster spots for Rule 5 Draft purposes; last year, the Royals non-tendered pitchers Nate Webb and Jake Brentz just before the deadline, but soon re-signed Brentz, who spent this season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and should be ready for next season.

And some more calendar items...