Minor League Free Agency

1A minor league player can become a free-agent five ways:

1. Outright Release
2. Per Article XX-B of the CBA 
3. Per Article XX-D of the CBA
4. Per Article XIX-A of the CBA
5. Per MLB Rule 55 
6. Non-tender 

OUTRIGHT RELEASE: Unlike for players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), Outright Release Waivers are not required to release a minor league player. A released minor league player receives two weeks termination pay if he is released during Spring Training or during the minor league season, but the player receives no termination pay if he is released during the off-season before the next season's salary addendum has been added to the player's contract. A minor league player who is injured during the course of Spring Training (Minor League Camp) or the minor league regular season receives two weeks termination pay if he is released no later than the 14th day of his club's regular season, but the injured player receives a full season's salary if he is released after the 14th day of his club's regular season.

ARTICLE XX-B
: 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.

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.

ARTICLE XIX-A
: Any MLB player who has accrued at least five years of MLB service time (or any international player with Article XIX-A contractual rights) has the right to be a free-agent if the player is optioned or outrighted to the minors. The player can exercise this right upon being optioned or outrighted to the minors, or he can defer the right until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (he is given three days to decide if he is optioned or 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 XIX-A elects to be a free-agent immediately after being optioned or 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 XIX-A 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 player accepts the Optional or 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. However, an Article XIX-A  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 at 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if the player has had his first contract renewed six times and has spent all or any part of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league roster (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. For purposes of determining eligibility to be a free-agent, a player does not accrue a minor league season if the player spends the entire season on an MLB Active List, MLB Disabled List(s), and/or other MLB Inactive List, or if the player spends an entire season on the Restricted List, Disqualified List, Suspended List, Ineligible List, Voluntarily Retired List, and/or Military List. Also, participation in a post-season instructional league or winter league and/or the Arizona Fall League (AFL) does not count toward a minor league season if the player otherwise did not accrue a minor league season that year. 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 the 5th day after the final game of the World Series. (The deadline is 5:00 PM Eastern on October 15th if the World Series is canceled).

NON-TENDER: If an unsigned player on a minor league reserve list is not tendered a contract by 5 PM (Eastern) on January 15th (or by 5 PM Eastern on Jauuary 14th if January 15th falls on a Saturday, or by 5 PM Eastern on January 13th if January 15th falls on a Sunday), the player will be declared a 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 a minor league free-agent.

LAST UPDATED: 8-22-2016


2016 ARTICLE XX-B MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER
:
NONE (all three were released)

POST-2016 ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT

Tim Federowicz, C
Ryan Kalish, OF 

POST-2016 ARTICLE XIX-A MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT

NONE 

MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2016


SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS
:
Lane Adams, OF
Gioskar Amaya, INF-C
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Scott Barnes, LHP
Frank Batista, RHP
Jake Buchanan, RHP
Kelly Dugan, 1B-OF
Stephen Fife, RHP
David Freitas, C
Matt Murton, OF
Kristopher Negron, IF-OF
Manny Parra, LHP
Starling Peralta, RHP
Juan Carlos Perez, OF
Jose Rosario, RHP;
Joe Thatcher, LHP
Logan Watkins, INF

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTE below)
Luis Aquino, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Cole Brocker, RHP (previously released by ATL)
Josh Collmenter, RHP (previously released by AZ)
Aaron Crow, RHP (previously non-tendered by MIA)
Yan de la Cruz, RHP (previously released by HOU)
Elvis Diaz, RHP (previously released by BAL)
Miguel Estevez, RHP (previously released by CIN)
Jack Leathersich, LHP (previously non-tendered by CUBS)
Brian Matusz, LHP (reviously released by ATL)
Miguel Mejia, RHP (previously released by DET)
Drew Rucinski, RHP (previously released by CLE)
Nick Sarianides, RHP (previously released by AZ)
Robert Severino, RHP (previously released by SEA)
NOTE: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons (six contract renewals) can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season (six contract renewals). So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2016 season (TBD)

 

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