CARLSBAD, Calif. — As the sun set on the Omni La Costa Resort on Tuesday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Erik Neander politely stepped away from a few reporters, waving his phone to indicate he was getting a call he had to take. He hunched a little, trying to hear in the crowded space. Then he covered his mouth with his free hand so no one around — reporters, fellow general managers, anyone — would hear whatever he was saying to whoever had just called.

In other words, Neander, like so many of his colleagues at baseball’s general managers’ meetings this week, was doing exactly what you might expect a general manager to be doing as the offseason gets underway. Despite the Dec. 1 deadline for MLB and the players’ union to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement — one that could change the rules that govern roster construction — the general managers are, generally speaking, beginning the usual process of constructing their major league rosters anyway.

“For me, you plan the same. You don’t do anything different because, if you do, things will shock you,” Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila said. “Your best planning of ‘We have to do something different’ because of whatever, it can really come back and haunt you.”

Far from hesitating because of the uncertainty surrounding the CBA, Avila already has made a deal this offseason, trading for catcher Tucker Barnhart. He is not the only one to make changes to his roster. The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a one-year deal with left-hander Andrew Heaney, pending a physical, according to a person familiar with the situation. November is normally a slow month for transactions — a trade here, a signing there. So far, it has been exactly what it normally is.

According to conversations with more than a dozen executives and agents, most teams are approaching this offseason as they would any other, assuming the current rules apply and assuming they will pivot if that changes.

“I’m not smart enough to prognosticate exactly what [the changes are going to be]. I can’t predict that,” Texas Rangers GM Chris Young said. “The best thing we can do is operate under the current set of rules, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Despite his self-deprecation, Young may be better equipped than any of his colleagues to predict what those changes might be. He spent three seasons working in the league office, overseeing on-field operations and rising as high as senior vice president. And he was a major league player for 13 years.

Young knows as well as anyone what the players want and how the owners feel. But he didn’t bite on questions about which proposed rule changes — say, a salary floor or alterations to how service time is calculated and when players become free agents — might change his job and which would not impact it at all.

“We don’t know what the rules are going to be. We’re under the understanding that the current rules are governing, and that’s the way we’ll continue to proceed,” Young said. “Certainly service time and years of control and all of those conversations are a part of the dialogue with any trade.”

But to the extent that anything is different this time, multiple agents said the main thing they notice is that some teams are not sure what their budgets will look like. Ideas such as a required minimum payroll or getting rid of the competitive balance tax on high-spending teams have been among those floated by people on both sides of early CBA negotiations, and either would have a major impact.

The Oakland Athletics, for example, are reportedly cutting payroll, though General Manager David Forst insists that letting manager Bob Melvin leave for the San Diego Padres was more about letting him pursue a more secure opportunity than the team’s budget. But even while trying to make dramatic changes, Forst said the A’s, too, are operating as normal — pursuing the kind of deals that could help them build a roster commensurate with what seems likely to be a small budget.

“It’s totally business as usual. Obviously, we’re having trade discussions and we’re going to start a manager search,” Forst said. “So nothing’s different.”

That most teams seem to be operating as normal does not mean they won’t change course. November is the time to hire coaches and managers, to make room on the 40-man roster, to get things ready. The flurry of deals often doesn’t occur until the winter meetings in early December or, in recent years, until January.

If MLB and the players’ union do not agree to a deal by the scheduled start of the winter meetings, they will not take place, according to people familiar with MLB’s plans. In that way, the normal rhythm of the offseason could still be disrupted, even if the rules don’t change. But these days, many signings and trades are agreed to by phone.

If the winter meetings don’t happen, it might not change the lives of those building major league rosters dramatically. At home or in the office, Neander and his colleagues don’t have to worry about covering their mouths.