Subject to various caveats not worth getting into too deeply here, a minor league player can become a free agent if he’s been with an organization for a certain period of time (six seasons after the season in which he was signed) and has not been placed on the 40-man roster, or if he previously signed a minor league deal. Technically, these players are just “free agents,” not “minor league free agents,” but we think of them as the latter because it separates the group in our minds from former big leaguers who have to sign minor league deals after falling out of favor in the majors.
These minor league players reached free agency on November 6th, if they weren’t sooner re-signed (for example, the Cubs re-signed many of their would-be minor league free agents, as we discussed yesterday).
It’s always an interesting group to look over, and Baseball America has collected the full lot of minor league free agents in an article you can peruse here.
The full group of outgoing Cubs free agents, including former big leaguers who were on minor league deals with the Cubs: RHP Daniel Bard, RHP Fernando Cruz, RHP Jae-Hoon Ha, RHP Blake Parker, RHP Felipe Paulino, RHP Carlos Pimentel, RHP Andres Santiago, LHP Jeffry Antigua, LHP Drake Britton, LHP Ryan Buchter, C Luke Carlin, UTL Emilio Bonifacio, UTL Jonathan Mota, UTL Chris Valaika, UTL Wes Darvill, OF Adron Chambers.
Looking at the rest of the list, there are so many familiar names, and I instantly think about the process a thoughtful organization like the Cubs must be going through – indeed, started going through months ago – in an effort comb through these possibilities for future minor league deals, evaluating and projecting, and then starting those discussions. We focus so much on the big league deals (for obvious and meritorious reasons), but the amount of work that goes in on the minor league side is incredible.
Some random arms that stick out to me: Jeff Inman, Cody Satterwhite, Tyler Sturdevant, Jarrett Grube, A.J. Morris, Blake Wood … I could go on. Look for the Cubs to pick up several AA/AAA-level arms who could contribute in a pinch, or could conceivably surprise and battle in the spring for a middle relief role.
Your thoughts on the available group?