Baseball’s business season began Thursday when 121 players become free agents, a group that includes Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
James Shields, Nori Aoki and Jason Frasor of the American League-champion Kansas City Royals also were among the players who became free.
As many as 30 more players can become eligible, depending on contract options.
Top free-agent pitchers also include Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. Among the top hitters are shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Nelson Cruz and designated hitter Victor Martinez.
The first big deadline is Monday, when teams must decide whether to make $15.3 million qualifying offers to their eligible players who became free agents. An offer can only be made to a free agent who was with the team for the entire season, and players have until Nov. 10 to accept.
If a player rejects a qualifying offer and signs a major league contract with another club before the June amateur draft, his former team would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round.
The club signing that player loses its first-round pick in the following amateur draft, unless that pick is among the top 10, in which case the club signing that player loses its next-highest pick.
None of the 22 qualifying offers made after the past two seasons was accepted.
Free agents can start discussing money with all teams starting Tuesday.