21 Cincinnati Reds minor leaguers elect free agency Doug Gray November 5, 2018 17 Comments 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 C.J. McElroy OF AZL, PEN, LOU 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. 17 Responses Doc November 5, 2018 Doug, 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 November 5, 2018 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 November 6, 2018 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?? Nathan November 5, 2018 Doug, do you see any of these guys coming back to the reds? Doug Gray November 5, 2018 I wouldn’t be surprised if 2-3 of them did. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if none of them did. MK November 5, 2018 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 November 5, 2018 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 November 5, 2018 He has six years of service buy I am not clear on the age component. Kinsm November 6, 2018 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. Shamrock November 6, 2018 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 November 6, 2018 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 November 6, 2018 @Shamrock – Are you really mad at the player for having an injury and not recovering? Shamrock November 6, 2018 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 November 6, 2018 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). Krozley November 6, 2018 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? IMHO November 6, 2018 Just curious – with these players going to free agency, does that open spots for Rookie players on those particular teams? Doug Gray November 6, 2018 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.