Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon ...
John Leyba, The Denver Post
Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon (19) looks up at the jumbo iron prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card Game on Oct. 4, 2017 in Phoenix, AZ at Chase Field.

What promises to be an intriguing offseason for the Rockies officially opens at 7 a.m. Thursday. General manager Jeff Bridich and his staff are facing many important decisions over the coming weeks.

Topping the list is whether the Rockies will attempt to lock up all-star center fielder Charlie Blackmon to a long-term deal or simply go through Blackmon’s final year of arbitration.

Following is a quick primer on key dates and pending decisions on the Rockies’ calendar.

All players with at least six years of service time who are not under contract for the 2018 season will become free agents. For five days, there is a “quiet period” when clubs can talk to free agents, but may not sign free agents from other clubs until the quiet period has expired.

— Here are the Rockies’ free agents:

Also, teams and players have up to five days following the World Series to decide what to do regarding options. The Rockies have two players with pending options:

  • Utility player Alexi Amarista. The Rockies hold a $2.5 million club option on Amarista, who is a favorite of manager Bud Black, but struggled this past season. There is a chance the Rockies will not pick up Amarita’s option, making him a free agent.
  • Right-handed closer Greg Holland. He holds a $15 million player option and is expected to reject the option and become a free agent.

The Rockies also have five days to make a $17.4 million qualifying offer for the 2018 season to their own potential free agents. The player most likely to receive a qualifying offer is Holland. The veteran closer would most likely turn down the offer, which means the Rockies would receive a high pick in the 2018 draft should Holland sign with another team. But even if Holland rejects the qualifying offer, the Rockies could still make a push to re-sign him on the free-agent market.

Also on the club’s agenda is making offers to its arbitration-eligible players. Teams must offer those players arbitration by Dec. 1 or else those players are non-tendered and released. Players and teams have until January 12 to reach an agreement, or else both sides must submit their salary demands to an arbitration panel. Hearings are conducted in February. The Rockies almost always avoid having to go to arbitration with their players.

Following are the five Rockies eligible for arbitration, along with the MLB Trade Rumors arbitration projection figures.

  • Blackmon ($13.4 million). A legitimate National League MVP candidate, Blackmon is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018 season. He’ll be 32 at that time. The big question is whether the Rockies will look to sign Blackmon to a lucrative three- or four-year deal.
  • Second baseman DJ LeMahieu ($8.8 million). Like Blackmon, LeMahieu will be going through his final arbitration process before becoming a free agent after the 2018 season. The 2016 NL batting champion was recently honored as the majors best fielding second baseman by receiving the Fielding Bible Award. He’s also a finalist for a second Gold Glove.
  • Right-handed starter Chad Bettis ($1.5 million). Bettis fought back from testicular cancer and seems primed for a full, healthy and productive season. This will be Bettis’ first time going through arbitration and the Rockies are likely to get him for a bargain rate as their most experienced starter.
  • Left-handed reliever Chris Rusin ($1.4 million). One of the most reliable relievers in the majors is another projected bargain. There is a chance Rusin could audition for the starting rotation during spring training.
  • Left-handed reliever Zac Rosscup ($600,000). Acquired from the Cubs for pitcher Matt Carasiti in June, Rosscup pitched seven innings for the Rockies. Rosscup’s expected salary is barely above the major-league minimum, but he might not be offered a contract if the Rockies decide they need his spot on the 40-man roster for another player.

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