The World Series is over. The sport's collective bargaining agreement expires in less than four weeks. Baseball could shut down for the foreseeable future. You have questions. I have answers.
Why is this Sunday an important day?
The MLB offseason really starts Sunday. More than 200 players are free agents now, but they can't sign with new teams until Sunday. Decisions on options -- club and player -- are due by that day, too. And teams that plan to extend a qualifying offer to free agents must do so by 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.
When will players actually start signing with new teams this offseason?
There should be some movement in November, especially among players who want some semblance of certainty. Multiple officials see a two-pronged market this winter: a relatively low-impact one pre-lockout, and a frenzied post-lockout rush.
So, uh, did you just say there's going to be a lockout?
Put it this way: I've talked with a lot of people around the sport, and literally every single one believes that once the clock turns from 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1 to 12 a.m. on Dec. 2, the owners will lock out the players.
A deal to keep the sport running is not impossible. It's just seen as highly unlikely.