Cubs Minor League Free-Agents & Updated 2013 Rule 5 Draft Eligibility List

Here is the updated list of Cubs minor leaguers (including Rule 55 6YFA and "second-contract" players) who were declared free-agents by MLB yesterday at 5 PM (Eastern), and the updated December 2013 Rule 5 Draft eligiblility list (including Rule 55 eligibles who have signed 2014 minor league successor contracts and "second-contract" players signed for 2014 who are eligible for selection):  


MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENCY:


ARTICLE XX-D: Any MLB player who has accrued at least three years of MLB service time, or who was eligible for Salary Arbitration as a "Super Two" after the previous season, and/or who has been outrighted previously in his career, has the right to be a free-agent if the player is outrighted to the minors. The player can exercise this right upon being outrighted, or (but only in the case of a player who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career) he can opt to defer the right until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (he is given three days to decide if he is outrighted during Spring Training or the MLB regular season, and he has eight days to make up his mind if he is outrighted during the off-season). If a player eligible to be a free-agent under Article XX-D elects to be a free-agent immediately after being outrighted, the player's contract is terminated and the player receives no termination pay. (Because unsigned players do not receive termination pay, players eligible to be minor league free-agents under Article XX-D who are outrighted during the off-season before being tendered a contract for the following season almost always opt for free-agency immediately). But if the outrighted player accepts the Outright Assignment, the player's existing contract remains in force, and the player can elect free-agency beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th. (A player who had the option to elect free-agency upon being outrighted only because he had been eligible for Salary Arbitration as a "Super Two" after the previous season does NOT have the right to defer free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season). However, an outrighted player who deferred the right to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent until the conclusion of the MLB regular season is NOT eligible to be a free-agent if the player is added back to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season.


MLB RULE 55: Sometimes called a "Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent," an unsigned minor league player is automatically declared a free-agent per MLB Rule 55 if the player has spent all or any part of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league club's Active List and/or Disabled List (including all or parts of any season spent on Optional Assignment to the minors), and/or if the player has been previously released or non-tendered in his career and his present contract (known as a "second contract" even if it's his third or fourth minor league contract) has expired. Note that a player who ordinarily would have been declared a Rule 55 minor league free-agent is NOT eligible to be a free-agent if the player is either added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or agrees to a minor league successor contract with his previous club by 5:00 PM (Eastern) on October 15th or by 5:00 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series (whichever is later). The deadline for an MLB club to tender a contract to an unsigned minor league player who had previously agreed to a successor contract is January 15th. If an unsigned minor league player is not tendered a contract by January 15th, the player becomes an unrestricted free-agent.


A minor league free-agent can sign a contract with any major league or minor league club (including the player's former club) without any restrictions. A club receives no compensation for losing an MLB Rule 55 or Article XX-D minor league free-agent.


ARTICLE XX-D CUBS MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS (DEADLINE TO FILE WAS 10/15):
J. C. Boscan, C (filed)
Michael Bowden, RHP (filed)
Darnell McDonald, OF (filed)
Henry Rodriguez, RHP (did not file)
Eduardo Sanchez, RHP (filed)

Four of the five players who were eligible to file for free-agency per Article XX-D did so, but nothing would prevent the Cubs from re-signing any or all of them to 2014 minor league contracts (if the player agrees).

MLB RULE 55 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS
(declared by MLB 11-5-2013):


SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT:
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Kyler Burke, LHP
Alex Burnett, RHP
Yeiper Castillo, RHP
Jaye Chapman, RHP
Johermyn Chavez, RHP (ex-OF)
Rafael Dolis, RHP
Cole Gillespie, OF
Edwin Maysonet, INF
Thomas Neal, OF
Brad Nelson, 1B
Henry Rodriguez, RHP (was Article XX-D FA eligible - did not file)
Nate Samson, IF-OF
Tim Torres, IF-OF
Casey Weathers, RHP
Ty Wright, OF

Because he had accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time when he was outrighted to the minors on July 19th and did not elect to be a free-agent at that time, and then was not added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, Henry Rodriguez was eligible under Article XX-D of the CBA to file for free-agency starting on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up through October 15th. He chose not to do so. However, he was also eligible to be a Rule 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) post-2013, and Rule 55 does not require the player to file. Unsigned minor league players eligible to be a Rule 55 6YFA were automatically declared free-agents at 5 PM (Eastern) yesterday (the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series), so Rodriguez was automatically declared a free-agent at that time. 

So far, seven Cubs minor leaguers who were eligible to be a Rule 55 6YFA post-2013 have signed minor league successor contracts with the Cubs for 2014:

Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Edgar Gonzalez, INF
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Marcos Mateo, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF 
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Ryan Searle, RHP

While these seven players chose not to be minor league free-agents, they will be eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft. As a matter of fact, the player the Cubs selected in the Rule 5 Draft last December (RHP Hector Rondon) was a Rule 55 6YFA post-2012, but he and his club (the Cleveland Indians) agreed to a minor league successor contract. So while the Cubs never had a chance to sign him as a minor league FA (which would probably have been their preference), they were able to acquire him by selecting him in the Rule 5 Draft.

To entice a 6YFA to sign a minor league successor contract, a club will usually offer no less than "40-man roster split contract money" (at least $40,000 for players who have not been on a 40-man roster before, or at least $80,000 for players who have previously been on an MLB 40-man roster). In other words, the player's salary is what he would have been paid (or maybe even a bit more) if he had been added to the MLB 40-man roster, he just isn't on the 40. Depending on the pending minor league free-agent's leverage (estimated value on the open market), an NRI to Spring Training and/or a player "opt-out" right if he doesn't make the club's MLB 25-man Opening Day roster (or AAA roster in some cases) might be part of the offer, too. 

In addition to re-signing seven minor leaguers eligible to be 6YFA post-2013, the Cubs also acquired 25-year old 6'3 225 RHRP (closer) Alan Oaks (ex-MIA) from Normal (Frontier League) in September and have signed him to a 2014 minor league contract. And then they signed 27-year old OF Aaron Cunningham (who played in AAA with Round Rock in 2013) to a 2014 minor league contract today, less than 24 hours after he was declared a Rule 55 FA. Both Oaks and Cunningham will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (Cunningham probably in the Major League Phase, and Oaks probably in the AAA Phase), and Cunningham (with 222 games of MLB experience with OAK, SD, and CLE) will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training. 


SECOND-CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT
Nate Maldonado, C (previously released by CHC)
Zach Putnam, RHP (previously non-tendered by CHC) 

Maldonado was a player-coach signed to a 2013 minor league player's contract. He was a catching instructor at Instructs last month, so he might return as just a coach in 2014.

Seven other Cubs "second-contract" players were not declared free-agents, meaning they are signed for 2014: 

Michael de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by TEX)
Carlos Figueroa, INF (previously released by CHC)
Humberto Garcia, INF (previously released by CHW)
Yomar Pacheco, RHP (previously released by PIT)
Brohiglyn Rivero, RHP (previously released by TB)
Orbandy Rodriguez, RHP (previously released by AZ)
Roberto Vahlis, C (previously released by TOR)

Like Nate Maldonado, Carlos Figueroa is a coach signed to a player contract.  

Of the seven "second-contract" players signed for 2014, de la Cruz, Figueroa, Rodriguez, and Pacheco will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (Rodriguez probably in the Major League Phase, and de la Cruz, Figueroa, and Pacheco in the AA or AAA Phase), while Garcia, Rivero, and Vahlis will not be eligible for selection this year. 


RULE 5 DRAFT:

The Cubs have until November 20th to decide how many and which of their minor league players eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft they wish to "protect" from selection.

The Cubs also must decide by 11/20 which of their Rule 5 eligibles to place on the AAA Iowa 38-man reserve list, making them eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft only. This is an important decision, because the Cubs (at present) have 58 players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft (59 if Juan Carlos Paniagua is declared eligible by MLB), but there are only 38 roster slots available on the AAA roster. Most clubs leave three or four AAA roster slots open for free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft (most free-agents who sign minor league contracts prior to the Rule 5 Draft want to be placed on the AAA reserve list so that they are eligible for selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft), so the Cubs will probably place about 25 of their Rule 5 eligibles on the AA (Tennessee) reserve list or on a Class "A" reserve list to leave more slots open on the Iowa roster.

This matters because if a club decides not to keep a player selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 draft on its MLB 25-man Active List (and/or MLB DL), the player must be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers, where any of the other 29 MLB clubs can claim the player for the $25,000 Rule 5 waiver price and assume the Rule 5 obligations. If the Rule 5 player is not claimed off Outright Waivers, the player then must be offered back to the minor league club from which he was drafted, and the player's former club can reclaim the player for $25,000, with the player being automatically outrighted to the Reserve List of the minor league club from which he was drafted.

There is no such "right of return" for players selected in the AAA and AA phases of the Rule 5 Draft, so if a player is selected in the AAA or AA Phase, he is gone.

Which players the Cubs might decide to add to their MLB 40-man roster is unknown at this time, although it is a virtual lock that one will be Arismendy Alcantara. So while there are presently 58 players eligible (59 if Juan Carlos Paniagua is declared eligible by MLB), the final number will be dependent on how many players are added to the MLB 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, and how many minor league free-agents are signed (or re-signed) prior to the Rule 5 Draft

CUBS ELIGIBLE FOR MLB RULE 5 DRAFT POST-2013
(last updated 11-5-2013):


NOTE: Any player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft who is added to the Cubs 40-man roster by 11/20 will be removed from the list, and any free-agent who qualifies for selection in the Rule 5 Draft who signs a minor league contract between now and the Rule 5 Draft will be eligible for selection and therefore will be added to the list. The Cubs signed minor league free-agent OF Aaron Cunningham (ex-TEX) to a 2014 minor league contact today (less than 24 hours after he was declared a 6YFA), so he will be eligible for selection in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft.

Players who are most-likely to be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 are in bold 

Players who were eligible to be a post-2013 Rule 55 minor league 6YFA but who signed a successor contract for 2014, Rule 55 "second-contract" players signed for 2014, and any free-agent signed to a minor league contract for 2014 are underlined 

Arismendy Alcantara, INF (will almost certainly be added to Cubs MLB 40-man roster on 11/20)
Gioskar Amaya, INF
Frank Batista, RHP
Dallas Beeler, RHP
Julio Borbon, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs) 
Justin Bour, 1B
Marcelo Carreno, RHP
Lendy Castillo, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Javier Castro, RHP 
Zach Cates, RHP
Hunter Cervenka, LHP
Pin-Chieh Chen, OF
Casey Coleman, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Gerardo Concepcion, LHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Willson Contreras, C
Aaron Cunningham, OF (ex-TEX - was Rule 55 6YFA post-2013)
Wes Darvill, INF
Michael de la Cruz, RHP
Antonio Encarnacion, RHP 
Carlos Figueroa, INF (player-coach)
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Luis Flores, C
Anthony Giansanti, OF
Edgar Gonzalez, INF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Enyel Gonzalez, RHP 
Carlos Gutierrez, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
Marcus Hatley, RHP 
Marco Hernandez, INF
Eric Jokisch, LHP
Austin Kirk, LHP
Matt Loosen, RHP
Jeff Lorick, LHP
Eric Martinez, RHP 
Marcos Mateo, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Trey McNutt, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
A. J. Morris, RHP
Jonathon Mota, INF 
Chad Noble, C
Alan Oaks, RHP (ex-MIA - acquiired from independent league club & signed for 2014) 
Yomar Pacheco,RHP
Loiger Padron, RHP
Juan
Carlos Paniagua, RHP (see NOTE)
Amaury Paulino, RHP 
Felix Pena, RHP
Starling Peralta, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Orbandy Rodriguez, RHP
Greg Rohan, INF
Jose Rosario, RHP
Victor Salazar, RHP 
Dave Sappelt, OF (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Brian Schlitter, RHP (Article XX-D player - can elect free-agency if selected in Rule 5 Draft & then reclaimed by Cubs)
Ryan Searle, RHP 
Elliot Soto, INF (RESTRICTED LIST - but he is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft)
Nick Struck, RHP
Yao-Lin Wang, RHP
Oliver Zapata, OF
NOTE: Juan Carlos Paniagua signed his first contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks as "Juan Callado" on 5-8-2009 and pitched for the DSL Diamondbacks in the Dominican Summer League in 2009-10, but the contract was "pending" for almost two years and was never officially approved by MLB. The contract was eventually rejected by MLB due to "fraudulent paperwork" and Paniagua (Callado) was suspended for one year and then was declared a free-agent. He signed with the New York Yankees in March 2011 but then was suspended again and that contract was rejected, too, because his birth certificate could not be verified. Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and he signed with the Cubs on 7-9-2012. Therefore, Paniagua could be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in December 2013, since 2009 was his "first season" on the field, and he was 18 on the June 5th immediately preceding the signing of his first contract, or he might not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until December 2015 if 2012 is considered Paniagua's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes (TBD).

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Comments

1st replay used...close call at 1st.

home ump throws on a mic'd headset and a crew in the truck/booth review the call...supposedly, this process is to take no longer than 3 minutes.

it didn't take long (a bit less than a minute), but it was a bit silly, imo. not a fan. ump got the call right, btw.

supposedly this "time freeze in play" is balanced by not having the manager or a coach come out and argue the call.

2nd challenge on a play at 1st where the manager wanted to know if the 1st baseman had his foot on the base to make the out.

it wasn't close...and probably shouldn't have been challenged...but evidently can be challenged. ump got the call right, btw.

the announcer said that there is no limit on what can be challenged. Just one big happy experiment.

yeah, i understand we're in the "trying it out" phase...i just wonder where this whole thing is going to land.

the initial play at 1st was passable for a challenge, but the 2nd and 3rd were grasping-at-straws at best. they want managers to "test the system" so no doubt there's a bit of that in play pushing managers to make challenges.

a part of me doesn't want to see a system where we'll rarely, if ever, see a manager/coach come out to passionately argue a call. even though getting it right is more important than some drama...well...there's some that think fighting is an important part of hockey and celebrations in the end zone is an important part of football.

i could live without seeing challenges in-season and have them available in the post-season, though...too much under the microscope during playoffs.

3rd challenge on a catch/trap call...which was obviously a short-hop trap.

and once again the umps got it right.

A total of four minor leaguers eligible to be Rule 55 minor league 6YFA were added to MLB 40-man rosters prior to Monday's deadline:

ATLANTA BRAVES:
Ryan Buchter, LHRP
Wirfin Obispo, RHRP

BALTIMORE ORIOLES:
Chris James, LHRP

MINNESOTA TWINS:
Edgar Ibarra, LHRP

The most interesting of the four is Ryan Buchter, a one-time Cubs minor leaguer (acquired from WAS for minor league RHRP Matt Avery in November 2008, and then traded to ATL for veteran RHSP Rodrigo Lopez in May 2011).

The 26-year old Buchter had an incredible 15.0 K/IP ratio (103 K in 62.0 IP) and a .168 OppBA at AAA Gwinnett in 2013 (best K/IP in AAA), and he has struck out 15 in just 6.2 IP with a .130 OppBA so far in winter ball for Culiacan (Mexican Pacific League). 


 

buchter was/is an interesting case. wild as all hell, but total kryptonite to lefties trying to make contact...and he does it with a low-mid 90s fastball and a slider.

his main knock is that he walks lefties as well as righties...he's wild to everyone even if the lefties can't hit him.

Daniel Bard's first outing in the Puerto Rican Winter League didn't go too well last night...

He faced four batters and didn't get any outs, allowing two runs on three HBP, one walk, and a WP.

With Bard being arbitration-eligible off a $1.8625M 2013 salary (and with a minimum $1.59M 2014 salary required if a contract is tendered, and that's even with the max 20% pay cut), a 12/2 non-tender is looking more & more likely.
 

RIP indeed to the relationship with the station that built Cub Nation.

Interesting read on the physics of pitches:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/qa-alan-nathan-on-t...

Not sure I want the too, but any chance the Cubs look to resign Garza?

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/42078/...

Zonk Out

Moreland out of radio booth, citing wants to spend "more time with family."

Rumors KWood will be the new radio guy.~edit~ now being backed down by said rumor monger

My first reaction was if Moreland jumped before he was pushed. My opinion of his work -- brutal.

I thought Moreland was a little rough and awkward in how he expressed himself, but he was much more articulate about baseball stuff than Santo was. Unfortunately, he was not nearly as entertaining as Santo was -- Pat and Ron had the funniest offbeat discussions you could ever hope to hear. And Santo expressed the raw emotion of Cub fandom -- the id of the Cubs fan. He was a hard act to follow.

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