Million Dollar Minor League Deals

Last night, MLBTR's Mike Axisa took a look at a list of fifteen players who have signed Major League deals this offseason but failed to secure themselves a guarantee of $1MM. While we don't have the exact figures on all minor league signings, it's interesting to see that so far nine players have signed minor league deals with larger guarantees should they make their club's Major League roster, as shown on MLBTR's Transaction Tracker:

  1. Joe Beimel: $1.75MM with the Pirates
  2. Freddy Garcia: $1.5MM with the Yankees
  3. Andrew Miller: $1.3MM with the Red Sox
  4. Felipe Lopez: $1MM with the Rays
  5. Dave Bush: $1MM with the Rangers
  6. Braden Looper: $1MM with the Cubs
  7. Jeff Suppan: $1MM with the Giants
  8. Jason Giambi: $1MM with the Rockies
  9. Jose Veras: $1MM with the Pirates

Some interesting takeaways from this list:

  • The largest minor league contract this season so far was given out to a left-handed reliever. This is Beimel's fourth career minor league deal, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
  • Three of the players — Bush, Looper, and Suppan — were all members of the same Brewers' rotation in 2009. The trio combined for 470 2/3 innings of 5.53 ERA ball.
  • While the move was praised at the time, Boston's plan to acquire Lopez in the hopes of obtaining a supplemental draft pick for him didn't pan out because he signed a minor league deal.

Like the list of six-figure Major League guarantees, this could and likely will grow as Spring Training approaches. Remember too that each of these deals includes incentives to carry them beyond their base. Garcia, for example, could earn up to $5.1MM if he pitches a full, effective season in the Bronx.

The list serves as an interesting reminder that while minor league deals are often times an afterthought, they can still provide lucrative paydays if the recipient performs well.



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