Brad Snyder Elects Free-Agency
On the heels of the eight Cubs minor leaguers opting for free-agency this week per MLB Rule 55, the Cubs have outrighted 28-year old OF Brad Snyder to Iowa.
Because he was outrighted previously in his career, Snyder is eligible to be a free-agent immediately per CBA Article XX-D. And he has in fact exercised his right to be a FA (he is not signed for 2011, so there was no point in deferring his free-agency until the end of the 2011 MLB regular season).
Snyder was a Draft-Excluded Player (meaning he was added to the Cubs 40-man roster after August 15th), so the Cubs needed to secure Outright Waivers on him no later than the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series, and then outright him to the minors before the waivers expired (within seven days, or by the end of the waiver period on November 10th, whichever came first), otherwise they would not have been able to outright him until 20 days prior to 2011 MLB Opening Day. So apparently the Cubs figured that they were going to need Snyder's roster spot in the interim, otherwise they would have just kept him around for Spring Training. .
Snyder was the Cleveland Indians 1st round draft pick (18th overall) in 2003 out of Ball State, but was not able to develop into an MLB player during his six seasons in the Indians organization. The Cubs claimed Snyder off waivers in September 2008, and although he was a Rule 55 minor league FA last off-season and could have gone elsewhere, he opted to re-sign with the Cubs. He got an NRI to Spring Training 2010 and then hit 308/381/568 with 19 SB (5 CS) at AAA Iowa in 132 games (543 PA), before getting called up to Chicago in September, where he hit just 185/214/222 in 12 games (28 PA). He was named to the 2010 Topps AAA All-Star team.
Snyder is "toolsier" than your typical "4-A" guy, in that he has a plus-arm, plus-power, plus-speed, and is a solid defender. But he has a long swing and is prone to strikeouts, and likely will struggle to hit the better pitching he would see consistently in the big leagues. Also, he was in a position with the Cubs where he was out of minor league options, and would have gone into Spring Training battling Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir (who are also out of minor league options) for a roster spot that (by the time Spring Training rolls around) might not even exist.
The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) now stands at 36. The deadline for adding a player who is eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft to an MLB 40-man roster is November 20th, so the Cubs could add up to four players to their 40-man roster on November 20th without having to drop anybody else from the 40, or even more than four if additional players are outrighted to the minors. However, keep in mind that Cubs GM Jim Hendry usually likes to keep at least one roster slot open going into the off-season for free-agents, so the Cubs might not add four players to their 40-man roster on November 20th.