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Today marks the start of a 15-day period when eligible players, like Carlos Delgado and Brian Schneider, may elect to become a free agent, during which the team has exclusive rights to negotiate a new deal.

Once the 15-day window closes, which will be Friday, Nov. 20, the player is free to sign with another club.

In addition, the deadline for clubs to offer salary arbitration to free agents, so they can be eligible for draft-pick compensation, is midnight Dec. 1, after which the player has a week to accept the offer.

Don’t forget, a player under team control is guaranteed to make at least 80 percent of what he made the previous year in arbitration.

Meanwhile, the deadline for teams to offer 2010 contracts to unsigned players, like John Maine and Jeff Francoeur, is Dec. 12.  This is the night we will be made aware of whether someone like J.J. Hardy is tendered a contract to stay with the Brewers, traded to a new team, who will need to tender him a contract, or whether he will be non-tendered by the Brewers, making him a free agent.

Also, The GM Meetings will take place Nov. 9-11 in Chicago.  Here, teams will discuss league business, like Instant Replay, and extend feelers to other clubs to learn of who might or might not be available.  Last season, however, for the first time that I can remember, a ton of rumors were born out of the GM Meetings.  Typically, it had been a pretty quiet event.  Now, not so much.

Lastly, the Winter Meetings will be Dec. 7-10, in Indianapolis, during which the Rule 5 Draft will also take place.

For a full list of off-season date, go to the Sporting News.

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