Mariners-Rays 6-player deal lights Hot Stove

Mariners-Rays 6-player deal lights Hot Stove

The 2015 season is in the books, and it's now time to look to the future as all 30 teams begin to assemble their rosters for next year.

The Mariners and Rays didn't waste any time starting the Hot Stove season with a bang, completing a six-player trade on Thursday that sent Nathan Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser and Boog Powell to Seattle in exchange for Logan Morrison, Brad Miller and Danny Farquhar.

The last few days have already seen numerous shakeups in coaching staffs and front offices throughout the league, and the action will continue today, the first notable date on the offseason calendar.

The deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers is set for 5 p.m. ET, and free agency will officially begin once the clock strikes midnight.

Starting Monday and continuing through Thursday, front-office personnel will convene in Boca Raton, Fla., for the annual General Managers Meetings.

Then later this month, Major League Baseball will also look back on some of the previous year's best performances with the 2015 awards announcements scheduled for Nov. 9-20.

Shortly after that, the Winter Meetings will follow with a flurry of transactions likely to come out of Nashville, from Dec. 7-10, as the Hot Stove heats up. The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for the final day of the Meetings.

Here's a quick look at what else we've seen so far:

Yost, Moore on Gordon's future

Royals make qualifying offer to Gordon
Free-agent-to-be Alex Gordon became the first household name to receive a one-year qualifying offer after the 31-year-old outfielder declined his player option to remain with the World Series-champion Royals.

This year's qualifying offer is valued at $15.8 million, an average annual salary of the top 125 contracts in baseball. Players will then have one week to accept or decline the offer. If they decline the offer and sign with another team, their previous team will receive a compensatory pick in the 2016 Draft, while their new club surrenders its top unprotected selection.

Notably, in the three years under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, 34 players have been extended a qualifying offer and all have turned it down. Could 2015 bring an end to that trend? 

If Gordon declines, he'd join a free-agent pool potentially featuring several other big-name hitters, including Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Chris Davis.

Greinke enters free-agent market

Greinke opts out
One of baseball's top pitchers is slated to hit the open market, as Zack Greinke opted out of his contract with the Dodgers with three years and $71 million remaining.

The National League Cy Young Award candidate is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Greinke went 19-3 while posting the lowest ERA in the Majors at 1.66, earning his fifth All-Star nod.

It remains to be seen whether Greinke will return to Los Angeles with a new deal, but he's sure to be hotly pursued by many teams.

Greinke isn't the only marquee pitcher who could be changing uniforms this offseason. Johnny Cueto, David Price, Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Samardzija are all slated to become free agents.

Manager vacancy remains in Los Angeles
One managerial opening still remains unfilled, as the Dodgers have yet to name a successor to departed skipper Don Mattingly.

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is in the midst of a search that includes both internal and external candidates. The club has already interviewed former Dodgers player Kirk Gibson and has received permission to speak with Mets bench coach Bob Geren, who previously worked with Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi in Oakland.

Former Padres skipper Bud Black is also expected to be in a mix that includes rumored candidates Gabe Kapler, Ron Roenicke, Tim Wallach, Dave Roberts, Darin Erstad and Dave Martinez.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.