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2011 MLB Free Agent Tracker

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Almost from the moment Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to end the 2010 season, we started getting a ton of e-mails about 2011 MLB Free Agency. Whether it be questions about specific players status'or the process itself, you guys certainly are in inquisitive bunch.

At the request of many, we've put together what we believe to be a comprehensive informative explanation, in layman's terms, on the Free Agency process to help you get up to speed, including what most of you are looking for, who's affected by the process for the 2011 season.

For those of you looking to get a better grasp of  the MLB Free Agency process and how it works, I think you'll come away with a good understanding. For those of you simply looking to see who's available so that you can jump up and down yelling and screaming, hoping that your favorite team will sign/not sign the player that you want/don't want, we have the full list of 209 MLB players possibly eligible for Free Agency here for your review. We'll update the list daily so you can follow along and see who comes off the board.

With that said, let's dive in to one of the most confusing topics for avid MLB baseball fans, Free Agency. It's a complicated somewhat convoluted set of rules that's been negotiated in labor agreements between owners and players for 35 years, and the formula is tweaked with every agreement.

MLB Free Agency Primer

A player with six or more years of major-league service (on the team's 40-man roster) who is not under contract for the following season is automatically a free agent. Teams can receive compensation for the player with a draft pick in the following year's draft in June. To receive compensation, the team must offer the player salary arbitration. It is then up to the player to either accept arbitration or sign with another team. The team must offer salary arbitration to the player by early December or the team will not be allowed to negotiate with or sign the player until the following May 1. After arbitration is offered, the player has two weeks to accept or refuse salary arbitration. If it is refused, the player can only negotiate with the club until Jan. 7, after which no more negotiation can take place until May 1.

Top free agents are classified as Type A (the top 20 percent at their position as determined by the Elias Sports Bureau), Type B (between 21 and 40 percent at his position). MLBTR has a wonderful player breakdown of A & B the classifications. If a Type A free agent who had been offered arbitration signs with another team, the team receives two first-round draft picks the following June - either a first- or second-round pick of the new team (depending on a team's record the previous season) and a "sandwich" pick between the first and second rounds. Type B free agents earn just a "sandwich" pick.

If there are 14 or fewer Type A or Type B free agents available, no team can sign more than one type A or B player. If there are between 15 and 38, no team can sign more than two. If there are between 39 and 62, there's a limit of three. However, teams can sign as many Type A or B free agents as they've lost, regardless of the limits above.

* A player with five years or more major-league service that is traded in the middle of a multi-year contract can, during the offseason, require his new team to either trade him or let him become a free agent. If the player is eventually traded, he's not eligible to demand a trade again under the current contract and loses free agency rights for three years.

Below you will find a list of the MLB (Possible) Free Agents as of the day after the conclusion of the 2010 World Series. We will update the list daily. For those who are interested, you will find more detailed information on MLB Free Agency and MLB player contract status' below the list.

2011 MLB Free Agent Tracker

(Updated 11/04/2010)

* In some instances there are Club, Player, or Mutual 2011 options. If those options are not picked up or accepted, the player will become a MLB Free Agent. We apologize if their are any mistakes or omissions in the player listings as we have compiled this list on a best efforts basis. From time to time we find an omission or error. Should you find any (corrections, additions, omissions), that need to be made, kindly submit them and we will make the appropriate changes. - Thank you.

  • ARI - 1B - Adam LaRoche
  • ARI - RP - Aaron Heilman
  • ARI - RP - Mike Hampton
  • ARI - SP - Brandon Webb
  • ARI - SP - Kris Benson
  • ARI - SP - Rodrigo Lopez
  • ATL - 1B - Troy Glaus
  • ATL - C - David Ross
  • ATL - OF - Eric Hinske
  • ATL - OF - Rick Ankiel (2011 Club Option)
  • ATL - RP - Kyle Farnsworth
  • ATL - SS - Alex Gonzalez (2011 Club Option)
  • ATL - SS - Omar Infante (2011 Club Option)
  • BAL - 1B - Ty Wigginton
  • BAL - 2B - Julio Lugo
  • BAL - OF - Corey Patterson
  • BAL - RP - Koji Uehara
  • BAL - RP - Mark Hendrickson (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • BAL - SP - Kevin Millwood
  • BAL - SS - Cesar Izturis
  • BOS - 1B - David Ortiz (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • BOS - 1B - Mike Lowell (Retired Ithink... Right?)
  • BOS - 2B - Felipe Lopez (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • BOS - C - Jason Varitek
  • BOS - C - Victor Martinez
  • BOS - OF - Bill Hall (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • BOS - SS - Adrian Beltre (Player DECLINED his 2011 Player Option)
  • BOS - SS - Bill Hall (2011 Club Option)
  • BOS - RP - Scott Atchison (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • CHC - OF - Xavier Nady
  • CHC - SS - Aramis Ramirez (2011 Club Option)
  • CIN - 2B - Willie Bloomquist
  • CIN - C - Ramon Hernandez
  • CIN - OF - Jim Edmonds
  • CIN - OF - Jonny Gomes (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • CIN - RP - Arthur Rhodes
  • CIN - RP - Mike Lincoln
  • CIN - RP - Russ Springer
  • CIN - SP - Aaron Harang (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • CIN - SP - Bronson Arroyo (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • CIN - SS - Miguel Cairo
  • CIN - SS - Orlando Cabrera (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • COL - 1B - Jason Giambi
  • COL - 2B - Kaz Matsui
  • COL - C - Miguel Olivo (Traded to TOR who DECLINED its 2011 Club Option - WTF?!!!)
  • COL - OF - Jay Payton
  • COL - RP - Joe Beimel
  • COL - RP - Octavio Dotel (2011 Club Option)
  • COL - SP - Jeff Francis (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • COL - SP - Jorge De La Rosa
  • COL - SS - Melvin Mora
  • CWS - 1B - Mark Kotsay
  • CWS - 1B - Paul Konerko
  • CWS - C - A.J. Pierzynski
  • CWS - C - Ramon Castro
  • CWS - OF - Andruw Jones
  • CWS - OF - Manny Ramirez
  • CWS - RP - J.J. Putz
  • CWS - RP - Matt Thornton*
  • CWS - SP - Freddy Garcia
  • CWS - SS - Omar Vizquel (Signed 1-year deal with CWS)
  • DET - C - Gerald Laird
  • DET - OF - Johnny Damon
  • DET - OF - Magglio Ordonez (2011 Club Option)
  • DET - RP - Bobby Seay
  • DET - SP - Jeremy Bonderman
  • DET - SS - Brandon Inge
  • DET - SS - Jhonny Peralta (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • FLA - RP - Jorge Sosa
  • FLA - RP - Will Ohman
  • FLA - SS - Chad Tracy
  • HOU - SS - Geoff Blum
  • HOU - SS - Ramon Vazquez
  • KC - SP - Bruce Chen
  • LAA - OF - Hideki Matsui
  • LAA - RP - Scot Shields
  • LAA - SS - Maicer Izturis
  • LAD - C - Brad Ausmus (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • LAD - C - Reed Johnson
  • LAD - C - Rod Barajas
  • LAD - OF - Alfredo Amezaga
  • LAD - OF - Jay Gibbons
  • LAD - OF - Scott Podsednik (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • LAD - RP - Jeff Weaver
  • LAD - SP - Hiroki Kuroda
  • LAD - SP - Ted Lilly
  • LAD - SP - Vicente Padilla
  • MIL - C - Gregg Zaun (Team DECLINED Club Option)
  • MIL - RP - Trevor Hoffman (Team DECLINED Mutual Option)
  • MIL - SP - Braden Looper
  • MIL - SP - Chris Capuano
  • MIL - SP - David Bush
  • MIL - SP - Doug Davis (Team DECLINED Mutual Option)
  • MIL - SS - Craig Counsell
  • MIN - RP - Randy Flores
  • MIN - 1B - Jim Thome
  • MIN - 2B - Orlando Hudson
  • MIN - OF - Jason Kubel (2011 Club Option)
  • MIN - OF - Michael Cuddyer (2011 Club Option)
  • MIN - RP - Brian Fuentes
  • MIN - RP - Jesse Crain
  • MIN - RP - Jon Rauch
  • MIN - RP - Matt Guerrier
  • MIN - RP - Ron Mahay
  • MIN - SP - Carl Pavano
  • MIN - SS - J.J. Hardy
  • MIN - SS - Nick Punto (2011 Club Option)
  • NYM - C - Henry Blanco
  • NYM - OF - Fernando Tatis
  • NYM - RP - Elmer Dessens
  • NYM - RP - Kelvim Escobar
  • NYM - RP - Pedro Feliciano
  • NYM - SP - Hisanori Takahashi
  • NYM - SS - Jose Reyes (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • NYY - 1B - Lance Berkman (2011 Club Option)
  • NYY - 1B - Nick Johnson (2011 Club Option)
  • NYY - C - Chad Moeller
  • NYY - OF - Austin Kearns
  • NYY - OF - Marcus Thames
  • NYY - RP - Chad Gaudin (Player REFUSED minor league assignment)
  • NYY - RP - Kerry Wood*
  • NYY - RP - Mariano Rivera
  • NYY - SP - Andy Pettitte
  • NYY - SP - Javier Vazquez
  • NYY - SS - Derek Jeter
  • OAK - 2B - Akinori Iwamura
  • OAK - 2B - Mark Ellis OAK (2011 Club Option)
  • OAK - OF - Coco Crisp (2011 Club Option)
  • OAK - SP - Ben Sheets
  • OAK - SP - Justin Duchscherer
  • OAK - SS - Eric Chavez (2011 Club Option)
  • PHI - 1B - Mike Sweeney
  • PHI - OF - Jayson Werth
  • PHI - RP - Chad Durbin
  • PHI - RP - J.C. Romero (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • PHI - RP - Jose Contreras
  • PHI - SP - Brian Moehler
  • PHI - SP - Jamie Moyer
  • PHI - SP - Nate Robertson
  • PHI - SS - Jimmy Rollins (2011 Club Option)
  • PIT - RP - Chan Ho Park
  • SD - 1B - Adrian Gonzalez (Team EXERCISED its 2011 Club Option)
  • SD - 2B - David Eckstein
  • SD - C - Yorvit Torrealba (Team DECLINED Mutual Option)
  • SD - OF - Jody Gerut
  • SD - OF - Matt Stairs
  • SD - SP - Chris Young (Team DECLINED Club Option)
  • SD - SP - Jon Garland (Player DECLINED his Mutual Option)
  • SD - SP - Kevin Correia
  • SD - SS - Jerry Hairston Jr.
  • SD - SS - Miguel Tejada
  • SEA - 1B - Casey Kotchmann (Assigned to Tacoma, he DECLINED)
  • SEA - 1B - Russell Branyan (Team DECLINED Club Option)
  • SEA - 2B - Jose Lopez (Team DECLINED Club Option)
  • SEA - C - Josh Bard
  • SEA - RP - Jamey Wright
  • SEA - SP - Erik Bedard (Team DECLINED Club Option)
  • SEA - SP - Ian Snell (2011 Club Option)
  • SEA - SS - Chris Woodward
  • SF - 1B - Aubrey Huff SF
  • SF - OF - Pat Burrell
  • SF - OF - Jose Guillen
  • SF - RP - Guillermo Mota
  • SF - RP - Jeremy Affeldt
  • SF - SP - Dontrelle Willis
  • SF - SP - Noah Lowry
  • SF - SS - Edgar Renteria (Team DECLINED Club Option) How's that for a thank you!
  • SF - SS - Juan Uribe
  • STL - 2B - Aaron Miles
  • STL - C - Jason LaRue
  • STL - OF - Randy Winn
  • STL - RP - Dennys Reyes
  • STL - RP - Mike MacDougal
  • STL - SP - Brad Penny
  • STL - SP - Jake Westbrook
  • STL - SP - Jeff Suppan
  • STL - SS - Pedro Feliz
  • TB - 1B - Carlos Pena
  • TB - 2B - Willy Aybar (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • TB - OF - Brad Hawpe
  • TB - OF - Carl Crawford
  • TB - OF - Gabe Kapler
  • TB - OF - Rocco Baldelli
  • TB - RP - Chad Qualls
  • TB - RP - Dan Wheeler (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • TB - RP - Grant Balfour
  • TB - RP - Joaquin Benoit
  • TB - RP - Rafael Soriano
  • TB - RP - Randy Choate
  • TB - RP - Brian Shouse
  • TEX - C - Matt Treanor
  • TEX - OF - Vladimir Guerrero (Team DECLINED its 2011 Mutual Option)
  • TEX - RP - Darren Oliver (2011 Club Option)
  • TEX - RP - Frank Francisco
  • TEX - SP - Cliff Lee
  • TEX - SP - Rich Harden (2011 Club Option)
  • TEX - SS - Cristian Guzman
  • TEX - SS - Jorge Cantu
  • TOR - 1B - Lyle Overbay
  • TOR - C - John Buck
  • TOR - C - Jose Molina
  • TOR - RP - Jason Frasor
  • TOR - RP - Kevin Gregg (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • TOR - RP - Scott Downs
  • WAS - 1B - Adam Dunn WAS
  • WAS - 2B - Adam Kennedy (Team DECLINED its 2011 Club Option)
  • WAS - OF - Kevin Mench
  • WAS - OF - Willie Harris
  • WAS - RP - Miguel Batista
  • (FA) - 3B - Garrett Atkins
  • (FA) - OF - Frank Catalanotto
  • (FA) - RP - David Riske

History of MLB Free Agency

curtfloodFrom the 19th century through 1976, baseball players were bound to one team for life because of the reserve clause. Teams could renew contracts for one year for as long as they wanted to keep the player.

The beginnings of free agency began in 1969, when longtime Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood was traded to Philadelphia and refused to report. He appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but lost, but his case put in place an arbitration system for players' union and owner disputes.

In 1975, pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally played without a contract, arguing that their contract could not be renewed if it was never signed. An arbitrator agreed, and they were declared free agents. With the reserve clause effectively abolished, the players' union and the owners then agreed to the rules governing free agency that the teams and players would follow.

After a Player is Drafted

A player is bound to the team that drafts him for three seasons in the minor leagues. Contracts are automatically renewed on a year-to-year basis.

After three years, a player must either be on a team's 40-man roster (as he is then considered as having a major-league contract) or he is eligible for what is called the Rule 5 draft (see below). Once he has played for three seasons and is on the 40-man roster, the team then has "options" on the player. They can send him to the minors and still keep him for three additional seasons with automatic contract renewals. Each player has three option years and can be sent up and down from the minors as many times as teams see fit during that period.

A player with three years or more service cannot be removed from the 40-man roster without his permission. The player can opt to be released immediately or at the end of the season.

A player also can elect to become a free agent whenever he is removed from the 40-man roster, starting with the second removal of his career.

Rule 5 draft

After three complete minor league seasons, a team has to decide if they want to keep a player and must sign the player to a major-league contract (adding him to the 40-man roster).

Players who aren't placed on the roster are eligible for the baseball Rule 5 draft. A player can be drafted by another organization for $50,000. But there is a risk for the drafting team: They must keep that player on the 25-man major-league roster for the entire next season or he is offered back to the original team for $25,000.

A player not on the 40-man roster and not taken in the Rule 5 draft remains under contract with his current organization. He can elect to become a minor-league free agent instead of being taken in the Rule 5 draft, but players want to be selected in the draft because it represents what could be a fast track to the majors, getting away from a team that does not believe he belongs on the 40-man roster.

Arbitration

Once a player has been on a roster for three seasons and isn't locked up with a long-term deal, he becomes eligible for salary arbitration. A player with at least two years experience is also eligible provided he is among the top 17 percent in cumulative playing time in the majors of players who are between two and three years of experience.

During arbitration, the team and player each present a dollar figure to an arbitrator, who then decides for either the player or the team based on comparable wages within baseball. Oftentimes, the arbitration process leads to a compromise salary before the ruling. - Keith A. Baker

Keith is a sports agent in Stamford, Connecticut. His goal is to offer a unique insight to the world of sports. Comments in his columns are for entertainment purposes only and do not reflect the views and opinions of his firm or his clients.

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