2011 Indians Minor League Free Agents
This listing will be updated as the Indians remove players from the 40-man roster in the coming days. I have also provided information on some of the rules for determining minor league free agency below the list.
Right-handed pitchers (4): Hector Ambriz, Jose Flores, Joe Martinez, Adam Miller
Left-handed pitchers (1): Jeremy Sowers
Catchers (5): Juan Apodaca, Luke Carlin, Michael Hernandez, Raul Padron, Paul Phillips
Infielders (3): Cristo Arnal, Nick Johnson, Argenis Reyes
Outfielders (3): Travis Buck, Ben Copeland*, John Drennen
* - resigned
Minor League Free Agency (Rule 55)
Who is eligible: If a player is not on the 40-man roster, a minor leaguer is eligible for free agency and becomes a minor league free agent (MLFA) six years after their first season ends with an organization. This is why they are often called “six year minor league free agents” because they become a free agent after six renewal options afforded to the major league organization have all expired.
In general, once a player has six full seasons in the minors he is eligible for minor league free agency. For example, if a player was drafted in June of 2005 and signed in July of the same year, then his renewal seasons were 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and he would be a minor league free agent after the 2011 season.
There is an exception to this rule for a player that has been released from their first organization before they have used up all six renewal options. When this happens and the player signs with another club, that organization has the option of signing the player to as many years as they want up until the expiration of their sixth renewable contract. In most cases, however, the new club opts to sign the player to a one year deal, and even if the player has not had six full seasons he would be a MLFA after that season.
Also, a player does not become a MLFA if they agree to a successor contract prior to October 15th. A successor contract is basically just an agreement between player and organization to extend and sign for the following season in the period between the end of the season and the start of minor league free agency (this is what happened with Adam Miller and Juan Apodaca last offseason).
Timeline: On August 1st the Commissioner issues a listing of all players eligible to become MLFAs for the upcoming offseason. On October 15th a player officially becomes a minor league free agent (MLFA) if the club that originally signed him no longer has one of their six renewal options available to them. On October 16th the Commissioner issues the final MLFA list to all clubs, and a MLFA may negotiate a deal with any major league club for a major league or minor league contract.
Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his latest book the 2011 Cleveland Indians Top 100 Prospects & More is available for purchase for $20.95 to customers in the US (shipping and handling extra).