2013-14 Article XX(B) Free Agents

As has been previously discussed on MLBTR, the MLB collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they do not receive a binding promise to be added to the team's 25-man roster (or the Major League disabled list) five days prior to the season. If the team decides to pay the retention bonus, the player also receives a June 1st opt-out clause. Contracts can permissibly include terms that are more favorable to the player, such as greater retention bonuses and/or earlier opt-out clauses.

For the current season, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes tweets, decisions must be made by March 17th for the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, and by March 25th for the rest of the league. (Of course, at present, neither of the clubs opening play in Australia has signed an XX(B) free agent.) Last year, numerous XX(B) free agents received either a roster guarantee or a bonus from teams hoping to maintain control over the player.

There are many different ways to become a free agent, but only those players who reach free agency through Article XX(B) and certain international free agents are eligible for this added protection. There are two types of players who can qualify in this manner at the end of a season. (In either case, of course, the player must not already be a free agent; i.e., he must be on a club's 40-man roster upon the conclusion of the World Series.) First are those players who have accrued at least six years of Major League service time and are not under contract for the following season. Second are those players with expiring contracts who signed with an MLB club after turning 23 and after playing five seasons in one of the major international leagues. (In the below list, Kawasaki and Wada are examples.) In either case, the XX(B) free agenty must sign his minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day to qualify for the added contractual protections.

Here is a list of this year's crop of Article XX(B) free agents who have signed minor league deals and thus come within the ambit of the rule, as of today. (Several other players likely to land minor league deals could also qualify — including names like Kevin Gregg and Juan Pierre — if they sign in time.)

Angels: John McDonald, Carlos Pena, Yorvit Torrealba, Chad Tracy

Astros: Cesar Izturis

Blue Jays: Munenori Kawasaki

Braves: Freddy Garcia

Brewers: Zach Duke, Lyle Overbay, Mark Reynolds

Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada

Giants: Kameron Loe

Indians: David Aardsma, Aaron Harang

Mariners: Scott Baker, Endy Chavez, Humberto Quintero

Marlins: Reed Johnson

Mets: Kyle Farnsworth, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Nationals: Luis Ayala, Mike Gonzalez, Chris Snyder

Orioles: Alexi Casilla, Johan Santana, Delmon Young

Philies: Ronny Cedeno

Rays: Erik Bedard

Red Sox: Rich Hill

Reds: Jeff Francis, Ramon Santiago

Rockies: Nick Masset

Twins: Matt Guerrier, Jason Kubel

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