Last updated on 1/16/2017
Below is a list of players expected to be eligible for minor league free agency following the 2017 season. It contains players eligible under either ML Rule 55 or Article XX-D of the CBA. The most important difference between the two types of minor league free agents is that Article XX-D free agents can file immediately after the end of the Major League regular season, whereas Rule 55 free agents must wait until 5 days after the end of the World Series. The official list of Rule 55 minor league free agents will be circulated in late October or early November and may differ slightly from this one. Players in bold are eligible for free agency for the first time, and players marked with an asterisk (*) are eligible under Article XX-D of the CBA (as opposed to Rule 55):
Note: Players on the 40-man roster are not eligible for minor league free agency.
Added to 40-man roster, no longer eligible for minor league free agency
AAA - Las Vegas 51s
AA --- Binghamton Rumble Ponies
A+ --- St. Lucie Mets
A --- Columbia Fireflies
A- --- Brooklyn Cyclones
R --- Kingsport Mets
R --- GCL Mets
Extended Spring Training / Other
There are 4 different ways a player can qualify for minor league free agency. The first, and most straightforward is if he is released by the club. When a player is released, he becomes a free agent immediately. The second is if the player was signed to a minor league contract that does not extend beyond the current season. This is common when players are acquired as minor league free agents, particularly in the upper minors. The third, via Rule 55, is if a player has spent 7 whole or partial minor league seasons with the club that originally signed him. The fourth and final, via Article XX, Section D of the CBA, is if a player is outrighted and has 3 or more, but less than 5 years of Major League service and/or has been outrighted previously in his career. The player can elect to immediately become a free agent instead of accepting the outright assignment, or he can defer his free agency to the end of the season (provided he's not back on the 40-man roster).
Special thanks to Matt Eddy of Baseball America for helping me resolve any disagreements between my projections and the official list every year. Follow Matt (@eddymk) on Twitter.