While the Chicago Cubs Major League team is expected to lose a number of players from the Major League roster to free agency this offseason, that’s not the only level you see departures.
Indeed, Minor Leaguers can become eligible for free agency just like their Major League counter-parts, after spending enough time in the Minors in any one organization (or, of course, based on the details of their contract).
So, Baseball America has collected a list of all the Minor League free-agents-to-be (for every team), and you can see the full lot there.
The Chicago Cubs have a total of 19 exiting Minor League free agents, which is right about in the middle of the pack, in terms of the number of players leaving.
Here they are, per Baseball America:
Chicago Cubs (19)
RHP: Andury Acevedo (AAA), Frank Batista (AAA), Cole Brocker (AA), Aaron Crow (AAA), Stephen Fife (AAA), Miguel Mejia (AAA), Starling Peralta (AA), Drew Rucinski (AAA)
LHP: Scott Barnes (AAA), Brian Matusz (AAA), Joe Thatcher (AAA)
C: Tim Federowicz (AAA), David Freitas (AA)
2B: Logan Watkins (AAA)
SS: Kris Negron (AAA)
OF: Lane Adams (AAA), Kelly Dugan (AA), Matt Murton (AAA), Juan Perez (AAA)
There are some more familiar names above, like Andury Acevedo, Brian Matusz, Tim Federowicz, Logan Watkins, and Matt Murton, as well as plenty of guys you probably haven’t heard of. All of them will have a chance to explore deals elsewhere, but many of them will ultimately return to the Cubs.
Federowicz, in particular, proved to be nice catching depth in the upper minors this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see if the Cubs try to keep him around. With Willson Contreras taking on a bigger role and David Ross leaving for retirement, the Cubs might want some additional veteran backstop presence in the organization.
Other than that, you wouldn’t necessarily see these departures as concerning, especially when you know that the Cubs will be out there themselves perusing the group of available Minor League free agents. Watkins has moved past prospect status, Acevedo was injured and hardly pitched this season, Murton was a nice story but always a pipe dream to contribute, Matusz didn’t quite work out in his brief stint with the Cubs [Brett: But he gave us the best game in the regular season], and the rest are a combination of this or that. Each has his own story and upside, but none is too painful to lose if he doesn’t return.
That doesn’t mean these guys aren’t necessary to have in every organization, though. I’m just trying to lighten the apparent impact of losing 19 Minor Leaguers to free agency. Many will return, some will not, but, as always, we’ll let you know as soon as anything happens.