Per Article XX-B of the CBA, any player on an MLB Reserve List who has accrued at least six years of MLB Service Time and who is not signed for the following season automatically becomes a free-agent at 9 AM (Eastern) on the first day after the conclusion of the World Series. The player's former club retains exclusive negotiating rights with the player up until midnight (Eastern) on the 5th day after the after the conclusion of the World Series, after-which the player is free to sign a Major League contract (or minor league contract) with any club, including with the player's former club.
Also, any international player who was at least 23 years old and who had played all or parts of at least five seasons in a recognized foreign "major" league (NPB, KBO, Serie Nacional, et al) prior to signing his first contract with an MLB club becomes an Article XX-B FA when the player's contract expires.
CUBS ARTICLE XX-B MLB FREE-AGENTS POST-2014 (last updated 1-31-2014):
Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP (club option)
Jason Hammel, RHP
Nate Schierholtz, OF
Jose Veras, RHP (club option)
Carlos Villanueva, RHP
An Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signs a Major League contract after 11:59 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series receives automatic "no trade" rights that extend through June 15th of the following season, even if the player re-signs with his former club. An Article XX-B MLB Free-Agent who receives "no trade" rights this way can waive the right, but if he does, his club can trade the player only for player contracts and/or cash with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000. Note that a player who signs a Major League contract after becoming a free-agent by any other means (Outright Release, Non-Tendered, or Article XX-D or MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent) does NOT receive automatic "no trade" rights through June 15th.
If an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract at least ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, and then is either not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List by 3 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day, the player automatically receives a $100,000 retention bonus, and the player can unilaterally opt-out of the minor league contract on June 1st if he has not been added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or an MLB Disabled List by that date.
CUBS ARTICLE XX-B MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS SPRING TRAINING 2014: (last updated 1-24-2014)
Tsuyoshi Wada, LHP
An Article XX-B free-agent is designated a "Qualified Player" if the player spent the entire immediately-preceding MLB regular season on a club's MLB Active List (25-man roster) and/or on one or more of the club's inactive lists (7-day, 15-day, and/or 60-day Disabled List, Military List, Bereavement List, et al) and/or on the Active List or an inactive list (7-day or 60-day Disabled List, Military List, Bereavement List, et al) of one or more minor league affiliates of that club, and the club offers the player a guaranteed contract (known as a "Qualifying Offer") for the following season.
The Qualifying Offer must include a salary at least equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid MLB players from the previous season. The exact amount of the average salary of the 125 highes-paid MLB players from the previous season will be communicated by the MLB Labor Relations Department (LRD) simultaneously to all MLB clubs and the Major League Baseball Player's Association (MLBPA) within ten days after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.
To be valid, a Qualifying Offer must be extended by a club no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following conclusion of the World Series. The LRD then provides the MLBPA with a list of players receiving valid Qualifying Offers and the amount of each offer.
The Qualified Player has until 5 PM (Eastern) on the 7th day after receiving the offer to decide whether to accept or decline. If the Qualified Player accepts the offer, he is considered "signed" and must be immediately added back to his club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster). If he declines the offer, the player is free to sign with any MLB club, including his former club.
A club receives one compensatory draft pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds in the next MLB Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) if the Qualified Player subsequently signs a Major League contract with another MLB club. If more than one club receives this type of compensatory pick, the draft order for the picks is the same as it is for all other rounds in that draft (clubs select in inverse order of league standings from the previous season, and in the case of two clubs finishing with the same record the previous season, league standings from two seasons back will be used to break the tie, and if If the clubs are still tied, league standings from three seasons back, four seasons back, etc, will be used to break the tie).
MLB clubs are not permitted to extend a Qualifying Offer to an Article XX-B MLB free-agent if the player has agreed in advance to decline the offer so that the club will obtain a compensatory draft pick once the player signs with another club.
An MLB club that signs a Qualified Player forfeits its 1st round selection in the Rule 4 Draft, unless the club selects in the Top 10 of the 1st Round, in which case it forfeits its next-highest pick. The next highest draft pick (or draft picks) will be forfeited if the club signs more than one Qualified Player (one draft pick forfeited for each Qualified Player signed). Draft picks subject to forfeiture include the club's own Rule 4 picks, compensatory draft picks awarded to the club after losing an Article XX-B Qualified Player, and draft picks that were awarded as the result of the Competitive Balance Lottery or as the result of the Rule 4 SBP Forfeited Draft Pick lottery (including any lottery draft pick originally awarded to another club and then subsequently acquired in a trade). A compensatory draft pick awarded to a club for failing to sign a pick from a previous Rule 4 Draft is NOT subject to forfeiture. NOTE: A Rule 4 Draft pick forfeited as the result of a club signing a Qualified Player is not transferred to any other club (it just disappears).
A Qualified Player who signs a Major League contract after 11:59 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series receives automatic "no trade" rights that extend through June 15th of the following season, even if the player re-signs with his former club. A Qualified Player who receives "no trade" rights this way can waive the right, but if he does, his club can trade the player only for player contracts and/or cash with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000.
If a Qualified Player signs a Major League contract with a new club after the MLB Rule 4 Draft, or if a Qualified Player signs a minor league contract with a new club and either remains in the minor leagues or is later added to the new club's MLB 40-man roster, the player's new club does NOT forfeit a Rule 4 Draft pick, and the player's former club does NOT receive Rule 4 Draft pick compensation. However, MLB clubs are not permitted to sign a Qualified Player to a minor league contract just to avoid losing a draft pick.
If an unsigned player is not tendered a contract on December 2nd (or December 1st if December 2nd falls on a Saturday, or November 30th if December 2nd falls on a Sunday), the player is said to be "Non-Tendered," he is immediately removed from his club's MLB 40-man roster, and he becomes an unrestricted free-agent, free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club, including the club that non-tendered the player. A "Non-Tendered" player receives no termination pay, and the player's former club receives no compensation if the player subsequently signs with another club.
Each unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster who is tendered a contract must be offered at least the MLB minimum salary ($500K) and (with a couple of exceptions) at least 80% of the player's previous season's salary, and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back.
Some players have a "minor league split" salary in their contract which they are paid if they are sent to the minors. In most cases, a player's minor league "split" salary must be at least 60% of the player's salary from the previous season. The one exception is if a free-agent signs a major league contract with a minor league "split" salary, the "60% rule" does not apply
The minor league "split" minimum salary is $40,250 for players who are on an MLB 40-man roster for the first time, and a minimum $80,500 for all other players.
Performance-incentive bonuses are permitted in Major League contracts, but a bonus cannot be based on batting or pitching skill, or where the club finishes in the standings. A performance-incentive bonus can, however, be tied to days spent on an MLB Active List during the MLB regular season, and/or Games Played, Games Started, Games Finished, and/or Innings Pitched for pitchers, or Games Played, Games Started, and/or Plate Appearances for position players. Awards such as MVP, Cy Young, Silver Slugger, and/or Gold Glove, and/or being named to an All-Star team, can also be tied to an incentive bonus.