Updated with new deadlines for arbitration and non-tenders
The players union just announced some changes to their collective bargaining agreement with MLB that will alter the manner in which many offseason moves are completed, particularly with free agents.
Among the changes announced...
-- All players eligible for free agency will become free agents without the need to elect it.
-- The window for current clubs to have exclusive negotiating rights with their own pending free agents has been reduced from 15 days after the World Series to only five days.
-- The deadline for the original team to offer arbitration has moved up to November 23 (from December 1), and the deadline for players to accept has been moved up to November 30 (from December 7).
-- The deadline for clubs to make decisions on tenders and non-tenders has been moved up to December 2 (from December 12).
Here's the key point as it relates to the Nationals: Their window to negotiate with Adam Dunn exclusively just shrunk by 10 days.
As things previously stood, Dunn would not have been allowed to talk to other clubs until 15 days after completion of the World Series (roughly mid-November). Now, he'll be allowed to start talking to them five days after completion of the series (roughly the first week of November).
Now, that doesn't mean that if the five-day period passes and the Nats don't re-sign Dunn that they've lost all opportunity to do so. They'll just be in the same negotiating position as every other team out there. Prior to that point, they are the only club that can talk contracts with him, which is obviously a decided advantage.