Even though the offseason has yet to truly start in earnest as playoff baseball still needs to be played, the transactional wheels have already started turning for the clubs who failed to qualify for the playoffs. That includes our own Milwaukee Brewers, who announced that three minor leaguers have elected free agency today:
3B Will Middlebrooks, LHP Sam Freeman and LHP Michael Kirkman have elected free agency.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) October 4, 2016
Each of these players qualified for minor league free agency as Article XX-D free agents, which according to thecubreporter.com is defined as:
Any MLB player who has accrued at least three years of MLB service time, or who was eligible for Salary Arbitration as a "Super Two" after the previous season, and/or who has been outrighted previously in his career, has the right to be a free-agent if the player is outrighted to the minors. The player can exercise this right upon being outrighted, or (but only in the case of a player who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career) he can opt to defer the right until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season (he is given three days to decide if he is outrighted during Spring Training or the MLB regular season, and he has eight days to make up his mind if he is outrighted during the off-season).
Will Middlebrooks signed with the Brewers on a minor league contract last winter and began the season in AAA Colorado Springs, where he posted a .282/.308/.508 slash with 10 home runs in 264 plate appearances. He got the first opportunity to play third base following the trade of Aaron Hill, but managed only three singles and four walks in 31 plate appearances before getting hurt and missing nearly two months. He was outrighted on August 30th.
The Brewers purchased Sam Freeman’s contract from the Texas Rangers on April 5th, and he pitched 7.2 innings out of the Brewers ‘pen. He also allowed 11 earned runs with eight strikeouts and nine walks during that time. After seven appearances he was outrighted to Colorado Springs and posted a 5.20 ERA in 55.1 innings with 46 strikeouts and 28 walks.
Kirkman spent most of the 2015 season with Colorado Springs before being released in August. He signed with the Padres last winter but was claimed by Milwaukee on waivers on May 5th. He pitched only one game for the Brewers, allowing a run, before getting outrighted to AAA. He was a rather effective member of the Sky Sox bullpen, posting a 2.81 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 17 walks in 32.0 innings, but he’ll nonetheless be seeking a new opportunity.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference