Minor League Free Agency

A minor league player can become a free-agent six 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 two days to decide if he is outrighted during Spring Training or the MLB regular season, and he has three 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 two days to decide if he is optioned or outrighted during Spring Training or the MLB regular season, and he has three 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: 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 (the deadline is October 15th if the World Series is canceled) if the player 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 on a minor league Injured List) 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 minor league free-agent where spending seven separate seasons on a minor league roster is required, 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 prior to 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series.  

NON-TENDER: If an unsigned MLB player is outrighted to a minor league club after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and then is not tendered a minor league contract by January 15th (or January 14th if January 15th falls on a Saturday or January 13th if January 15th falls on a Sunday), the player is a free-agent. If a minor league player under club control (a minor league "auto-renewal" player) is not tendered a salary addendum by March 15th, the player is a free-agent.

A minor league free-agent can sign a major league or minor league contract with any club (including the player's former club) without any restrictions.

A club receives no compensation for losing a minor league free-agent.

 

LAST UPDATED: 4-1-2020
 

2020 ARTICLE XX-B MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER:
Jason Kipnis, INF
Brandon Morrow, RHP 

POST-2020 ARTICLE XX-D MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT
NONE AT THIS TIME

POST-2020 ARTICLE XIX-A MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT
NONE AT THIS TIME  


MLB RULE 55 FREE-AGENT POST-2020 WORLD SERIES

SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENTS: 
Jason Adam, RHP 
Carlos Asuaje, INF 
Dario Beltre, RHP 
Corey Black, RHP
Bryan Brickhouse, RHP 
Rex Brothers, LHP 
Charcer Burks, OF
Roberto Caro, OF
Erick Castillo, C 
Noel Cuevas, OF
Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
Wladimir Galindo, 3B
Eric Gonzalez, C
Luke Hagerty, LHP
Zach Hedges, RHP
Danny Hultzen, LHP 
Korban Joseph, INF
Luis Lugo, LHP
David Masters, INF 
Ivan Medina, RHP
Ian Miller, OF
Jordan Minch, LHP
Alberto Mineo, C-1B 
Kevonte Mitchell, OF 
Erling Moreno, RHP
Richard Nunez, C-1B
Tyler Olson, LHP 
Eugenio Palma, LHP
Jordan Patterson, 1B-OF 
Hernan Perez, INF
Josh Phegley, C   
Jordan Procyshen, C 
Caleb Simpson, RHP 
Brock Stewart , RHP 
Jake Stinnett, RHP
Jerrick Suiter, RHP (ex-1B) 
Matt Tenuta, LHP 
Alexander Vargas, RHP
Jerry Vasto, LHP
Mark Zagunis, OF

SECOND CONTRACT MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS (see NOTE below)
Aneudis Beard RHP (previously released by TEX)
Adam Choplick, LHP (previously released by TEX)
Juan Gamez, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Garrett Kelly, RHP (previously released by MIN)
Ryan Lawlor, LHP (previously released by ATL)
Jorge Ramirez, LHP (previously released by TEX)
Ben Taylor, RHOP (previously released by CLE) 
Juan Vasquez, C (previously released by SD)
Vance Vizcaino, OF (previously released by KC)
Danny Zardon, RHP (previously released by PHI)
NOTE: With mutual consent (player & club), a second-contract minor league player who has accrued fewer than seven minor league seasons can be signed to a multi-year minor league contract with club control extending up through the player's seventh minor league season. So it is possible that one or more of the Cubs minor league second contract players are signed beyond the 2020 season (TBD).

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  • JustSayin' 1 hour 18 min ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 8 min ago (view)

    Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.

    That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.

     

  • Hagsag 4 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.

     

  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 20 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 

     

  • JustSayin' 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.

     

  • crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.

     

  • crunch 4 days 21 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 6 days 3 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 6 days 11 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 6 days 12 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 16 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 1 week 5 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options.