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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Baseball's annual Winter Meetings and Rule 5 Draft — Dec. 3-6

You're mistaken if you think November's General Managers Meeting is the only big get-together of baseball's winter. The Winter Meetings, to be staged next month in Nashville, encompass the major and minor leagues and, generally speaking, produce more news and activity than the GM confab. With the the free agent and trade markets open and the non-tender deadline in the past, clubs can focus on talking and making deals.

The Winter Meetings are also the venue for the Rule 5 Draft, which this year is scheduled for the Meetings' final day. Teams with incomplete 40-man rosters can draft other clubs' unprotected players.

"Deadline" for arbitration-eligible players to sign with their clubs — Jan. 12

Too many fans believe there's a hard deadline by which players eligible for arbitration must sign with their respective teams. No such deadline exists.

Instead, arbitration-eligible players and clubs who haven't agreed on the terms of new one-year deals, or multi-season contract extensions, on or before Jan. 12 are obligated to exchange proposed arbitration-resolving salaries for the 2024 campaign. Importantly, nothing prevents them from continuing to negotiate and reach settlements before arbitration hearings begin in February.

Only one player, pitcher Brady Singer, took the Royals to hearing last winter, but as many as eight — Singer, Carlos Hernández, Kris Bubic, Edward Olivares, Taylor Clarke, Taylor Hearn, Josh Staumont, and Josh Taylor — could if they and Kansas City can't cut deals. Of those eight, Kings of Kauffman's Jacob Milham recently identified three he projects will be non-tendered.

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