Thursday, November 11, 2010

Minor League Free Agents and the Durham Bulls

As careful readers of WDBB will know, we are less than knowledgable regarding the ins and outs of the business of professional baseball, but we’re tryin’.

In that regard, we have the recent report in RaysProspects that lists Rays minor leaguers who have “qualified” for free agency. What does that mean? Follow the link to find a helpful (?) quote from Rule 55. But here’s my understanding — these players can now do a deal with anyone they want to, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

So here are 2010 Durham Bulls who are now free agents. It’s quite a list:


  • Winston Abreu
  • Joe Bateman
  • Jason Cromer
  • Richard De Los Santos
  • Darin Downs
  • Carlos Hernandez
  • Bobby Livingston
  • Heath Phillips
  • Brian Shouse
  • R.J. Swindle
  • Dale Thayer
  • Virgil Vasquez

Position Players:

  • Alvin Colina
  • Angel Chavez
  • Joe Dillon
  • Chris Richard
  • Rashad Eldridge

Does this mean that none of these guys will be back? No, not really. It just means that their 2010 (and earlier) contracts have run out. Many (most) of these guys were minor league free agents at the beginning of 2010. Obviously, WDBB would be happy to see all of the position players back, and most of the pitchers. This crew did just fine by Durham last year.


  1. Sorry if I wasn't clear, Chris. Yes, everyone listed is free to sign with any of the 30 MLB organizations or with indy leagues or overseas (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.).

    For most players, they signed their first contract after being drafted or as non-drafted free agents. These first contracts are for 6 years (everyone signs the same basic contract - it's just a form with the only differences being for the player's name and bonus amount). After six seasons the players automatically become free agents because their contracts have expired.

    An exception is players who have previously been released from their initial 6-year contract. Let's say a guy is drafted, plays two years, and is released. When he signs a new contract it is for one year. So for him his contract expires after every season, even though he hasn't played six years.

    All of the guys listed will sign one year deals, so they will be free agents again next year if they don't make a 40-man roster.

    I imagine several of these players will re-sign with the Rays, or at least want to. Let's face it, being in AAA for the Rays is one step from MLB on a good team with lots of openings on the major league roster due to major legue free agency. Hard to find another organization with that kind opportunity and upside.

    Hope that makes it more clear.

  2. Thanks, Doug, that helps a lot. I agree that there are several on this list who are likely to do a deal with the Rays, if offered. And a couple I hope aren't given an offer (Shouse in particular). Rumor had it that Joe Dillon was hanging up his spikes. Guess we'll be mostly waiting for the non-roster invite list to see who's got a shot.