It’s not just Major League free agency that is upon us. Minor League free agency is also here. Over the weekend 21 now former Cincinnati Reds minor league players elected to become free agents. For some of them it will be their first chance to test the waters. For others, they’ve been down this road before.

Those making their first drip into the free agency waters could see a good increase in pay as they will have some actual bargaining ability and aren’t held to the standard pre-free agency pay scale for minor leaguers, which mostly, is laughably offensive.

Here are the 21 players who have chosen free agency:

Player Position 2018 Teams
Alejandro Chacin RHP PEN
Carlos Navas RHP PEN
Daniel Wright RHP PEN
Dilson Herrera 2B DBT, LOU, CIN
Domingo Tapia RHP PEN, LOU
Gabriel Guerrero OF PEN, LOU, CIN
Hernan Iribarren Util LOU
Jeremy Kivel RHP BIL, DBT
Joel Bender LHP PEN
Jose Duarte C Did Not Play
Justin Nicolino LHP LOU
Kevin Canelon LHP DBT, PEN
Malik Collymore OF DAY, DBT, PEN
Mason Williams OF LOU, CIN
Mitch Nay 3B/1B DBT, PEN
Rob Wooten RHP AZL, LOU
Robinson Leyer RHP PEN
Rookie Davis RHP PEN
Steve Selsky 1B/OF LOU
Taylor Featherston Util PEN

Now, it’s worth noting that the Reds could have kept control of anyone on this list. All they had to do was place them on the 40-man roster. They, however, chose to not do that. Two of the players, Dilson Herrera and Mason Williams were removed from the 40-man last week. Gabriel Guerrero was also removed from the 40-man roster after the season, but his removal was immediate.

The Cincinnati Reds will certainly be active in the market to bring free agents in on minor league deals. They may even try to bring some of these guys back. It will certainly be interesting to see who they go after in this market, and if they hand out any invites to spring training via minor league free agency.

Baseball America usually has a list of all the minor league free agents shortly after the period begins. When that list comes out I will create a new post about it and discuss some possible options to look into.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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17 Responses

  1. Doc


    What is the average salary, and salary range for each level of the minor leagues, predominantly the Reds farm system? I have several times seen adjectives like your “laughable” one, but I am not aware that laughable has any meaningful attachment to a dollars and cents level.

    In addition, what expenses are paid by clubs for minor league players at each level? I hadn’t realized, for example, that many players stay as guests of host families. For what levels of the minors is that a common practice?

    A detailed, fact-based presentation of the minor league ball player’s salary and baseball related expenses woul be a lot more valuable and a lot more interesting than a derogatory editorial comment presented without factual support.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ve written about it many times, Doc. Not sure how you’ve seen me make comments about it multiple times but missed several articles a year that I bring up the actual pay scale. If I had to make a comment, then provide factual support on that comment every single time that I made it, I’d literally never get anything done outside of commenting.

      Prior to reaching free agency here’s what guys make, per month:
      Rookie-ball: $1,150
      Low-A: $1,300 ($50 additional per month if a player is in his second year at the level)
      Advanced:A: $1,500 ($50 additional per month if a player is in his second year at the level)
      Double-A: $1,700 ($100 additional per month if a player is in his second year at the level)
      Triple-A: $2,150 ($2400 a month for 2nd year AAA, $2700 a month for 3rd year AAA)

      On the road they get $25 per day for meal money. They get nothing at home. They don’t get paid for spring training, instructional league, or strength camps or other special “invite” events that are not mandatory by contract, but yeah, you better say yes if they ask you to go. They also have to pay clubhouse dues, both at home and on the road, which is usually $7-10 per day, per player.

      As far as host families go, that varies a whole lot. Some organizations (the big league club) doesn’t allow them at all (The Cardinals for example). The Reds do allow them, but they aren’t organized by the Reds. They are organized by the affiliate. Billings and Dayton have them. Greeneville does not. Daytona does not. Louisville does not. Pensacola did. I’m not sure if Chattanooga does. But, there’s not always enough of them for the players who want to do it. And while I can’t speak to how it works everywhere, some places it’s definitely not just a free place to stay. It’s cheaper than an apartment would be, but it’s not just free (again, in some places).

      Players on the 40-man roster get paid real, actual amounts of money, even if they are in the minors. A player with MLB experience, but in the minors and not on the 40-man roster also makes real actual money.

      • Jonathan

        Thanks for laying this back out there. I think its crazy to think these people are trying to make a living playing baseball and yet they can’t dedicate all of their time towards that.

        Would a comparison be if an account had to pay Office fees of $10-15/day for the coffee and supplies?? Or that a Medical Hospital wouldn’t pay for meals and hotels for RNS and other medical professionals who have to pay for continuing education to maintain their licenses??

  2. Nathan

    Doug, do you see any of these guys coming back to the reds?

    • Doug Gray

      I wouldn’t be surprised if 2-3 of them did. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if none of them did.

  3. MK

    Shouldn’t Corey Thompson have been eligible for this list and is the fact that he isn’t a sign they have told him he will be protected on 40-man?

    • Doug Gray

      I *think* he still has one year left before he would be a free agent. But, he was not listed as a player who elected free agency. So if he was going to be eligible, then he re-signed already. I’d be surprised if they added him to the 40-man. Right handers who don’t throw upper 90’s don’t get taken from Low-A historically speaking.

      • MK

        He has six years of service buy I am not clear on the age component.

    • Kinsm

      He’s not eligible for another year, teams have control over players for 6 full seasons (so you don’t count the draft year in the computation).

      He is rule 5 eligible though.

  4. Shamrock

    Good riddance Dilson.
    Now that you have passed through MLB waivers so many times i wonder if there’s even a minor league team that’ll have you.
    Good luck in Japan……….
    (screw you NY for giving us damaged goods)

    • Steve

      Wait, you are somehow mad at the player because he sustained an injury and then this season he was brought up to the big league club only to receive sporadic (at best) playing time???

    • Jonathan

      @Shamrock – Are you really mad at the player for having an injury and not recovering?

      • Shamrock

        As it says at the bottom of my post (screw you New York…)
        With that being said, I think the player (given his prior history which includes the fact that the Reds have been the only team willing to carry and care for him) could’ve not jumped at the first chance he had to escape Cincinnati…

      • Doug Gray

        That’s silly. They told him they’d rather give a shot to someone else (by removing him from the 40-man roster). Only a crazy person would stick around rather than try to go somewhere else where they have a better chance to play (and thus make money).

  5. Krozley

    I would think Travieso and Moscot would be here too. If players miss a year (or two) to injury, does that not count towards the service time?

  6. IMHO

    Just curious – with these players going to free agency, does that open spots for Rookie players on those particular teams?

    • Doug Gray

      It does and doesn’t. The Reds will sign plenty of guys in minor league free agency. Some of them will make teams, some will be cut before spring training is over, some will be injured and retained, but won’t be on a roster to begin the season.