Clay Buchholz

With World Series in books, decision time starts for Red Sox, rest of MLB

Rob Bradford
November 02, 2015 - 3:26 am

The offseason has officially begun. With Kansas City GM Dayton Moore now slated to get the congratulatory handshakes at next week's general managers meeting, front offices throughout Major League Baseball are lining up by the phones ready to kick off their Hot Stove season. For the Red Sox, one of their first decisions will have to be made within the next three days. That would be whether or not to exercise the $13 million option for Clay Buchholz's 2016 season. (That would be three days after the final World Series game, which is Wednesday.) The Sox seem certain to pick up the team option -- keeping Buchholz's $13.5 million team option for 2017 in play -- but it's nice to know when that might become official. While we're waiting for the Buchholz news, Monday marks the day eligible players can file for free agency. For the first five days of the process, however, those candidates can only sign with their 2015 club. The Red Sox aren't flush with free agents this time around, with Craig Breslow and Rich Hill highlighting the list. Another deadline looming five days after the final World Series game is the opportunity for teams to extend the $15.8 million qualifying offer to their prospective free agents. Those players afforded the one-year deal then have until 12 days following the World Series to make a determination if they are going to accept. In three offseasons under the qualifying offer system, none of the 34 players offered the QO have decided to accept the proposal. While the Red Sox don't have to worry about offering any of their own players the one-year contract, they will be keeping a close eye on which prospective free agents are getting tagged with such a designation. (For more on the Red Sox' decision regarding whether or not to sign qualifying offer free agents and sacrifice the No. 12 pick in the draft, click here.) Some interesting names seemingly on the bubble starters Brett Anderson, Jeff Samardzija, Marco Estrada, and Doug Fister (who doesn't seem likely to get a QO). Some other dates to keep in eye on: 1. Teams need to set their 40-man rosters by Nov. 20, defining which players will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft; 2. Teams need to determine who they are going to tender contracts to. Last offseason, for example, Texas chose not to offer Alexi Ogando a contract, allowing the Red Sox to sign him as a free agent. (For more offseason baseball banter, tune into the WEEI Sports Radio Network for the Hot Stove Show, Tuesday at 9 p.m.)