It’s free agency time in the major leagues. The Kansas City Royals usually don’t sign leading big league free agents, but can they find help among their former players in the overlooked world of minor league free agents?
The annual baseball offseason courtship is underway–the field of free agents is set, valuable stars are available, and players and teams are talking. The budget-conscious Kansas City Royals typically don’t pursue cream of the crop big league free agents, but there may be hidden–and cheaper–gems in the minor league free agent pool, including several former Royals the club might consider.
Unlike major league free agency, the minor league free agent process is unencumbered by difficult procedural considerations and decisions. Teams needn’t decide whether to extend qualifying offers to minor league free agents, thus freeing those players from agonizing over whether to accept a qualifying offer–and the guaranteed money it represents–or reject an offer and risk having to sign for less than the offered amount in the stark face of an unfriendly, unaccepting or thin market.
Minor league free agency differs from its big-league counterpart in one other important respect. While signing certain major league free agents requires the signing team to surrender a high draft pick to the team losing a player, clubs don’t get any type of compensation when another team signs a minor league free agent.
So, the Royals have only two basic decisions to make when considering a minor league free agent: whether they want the player and what to pay him. Here, by position, are some of the more familiar former Royals players on the minor league market.