Two important offseason events happen tonight and tomorrow. The deadline for players who declared free agency to accept arbitration offers is tonight at midnight ET. David Ortiz of the Red Sox was one of the bigger names out there before he accepted arbitration earlier tonight. But the clock is ticking for others who are discussed in John Schlegel’s breakdown on

UPDATE: Ortiz, Johnson, Rodriguez accept arbitration. See’s arbitration offer chart for all players.

The Rule 5 draft takes place on Thursday, the last day of the meetings. This is one of the quirkier features of MLB’s player movement system. Players that have been with an organization for either four or five years, depending on their age when they were signed, must be placed on the 40-man roster or else they are exposed to the Rule 5 draft. (More in-depth explanation here).

It’s a low-risk shot at low-cost players with the only caveat being that a player drafted must remain on his new club’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season or else he goes back to the original team. Once in a great while someone like Johan Santana gets picked up as a Rule 5 draftee and makes it to major league stardom. More often than not, however, players exposed to this process don’t become major factors at the big-league level.

Jonathan Mayo’s preview of the Rule 5 Draft on
2010 Rule 5 Draftees