A much less discussed and anticipated deadline came and passed yesterday: the start of minor league free agency.
Around baseball, players with sufficient minor league service time, who weren’t added to the 40-man roster (like the Cubs did with Matt Carasiti) or re-signed to a new minor league deal (like the Cubs did with several would-be free agents), became free agents.
For the Cubs, that includes a few familiar faces, most notably including outfielders John Andreoli and Trey Martin. TCR has the full rundown of guys who became free agents, and the guys – Carlos Penalver, Justin Hancock, Pedro Araujo, and Jeffrey Baez among them – who signed new minor league deals for 2018 with the Cubs before becoming free agents.
The other free agents are RHP Scott Carroll, 1B/3B Chris Dominguez, UTL Mike Freeman, OF Ryan Kalish, UTL Ozzie Martinez, RHP Williams Perez, SS Elliot Soto, and UTL Jemile Weeks. The Cubs can still re-sign these guys to new deals, but they’re free to negotiate with new organizations.
Andreoli, 27, is perhaps best known to Cubs fans for having several good Spring Trainings with the team, and a good run in the World Baseball Classic this year with Team Italy. He was never quite able to crack the Cubs’ roster, though, as he added much needed power over the last few years, but with it came a dangerously significant uptick in strikeout rate.
Martin, 24, is best known for his superlative outfield glove (previously earning him a minor league Gold Glove (where only one is given out at each position)), but the bat hasn’t ever come along. This past year at AA was actually his best at the plate, but even then he hit just .265/.304/.379 (96 wRC+, 26.4% K rate, 3.6% BB rate).
With each guy, the Cubs may well try to sign them to a new deal, but it would be understandable if they’d like to try their hand in another organization at this point.
As for the rest of baseball, we’ll soon get a full accounting of everyone who has become a minor league free agent, and the Cubs will go fishing for some opportunities.
It’s crazy and it’s rare, but you know who was once a minor league free agent? Jose Quintana, when the White Sox signed him away from the Yankees. Oops.