Pirates Minor League Free Agents and Why Brandon Cumpton Isn’t Eligible

Baseball America released the list of minor league free agents yesterday, and there were ten Pittsburgh Pirates players on the list. Here is the breakdown of those players.

RHP: Juan Diaz (R), Jason Erickson (Lo A), Justin Masterson (AAA), Jhondaniel Medina (AAA), Drew Rossi (R)
LHP: Jim Fuller (AAA), Kelvin Marte (AAA), Rinku Singh (Hi A)
OF: Stetson Allie (AA), Danny Ortiz (AAA)

There aren’t really any notable losses. Most of these guys were signed to minor league deals last season. The guys who came up through the system (Medina, Allie, Singh) had seen their careers stall in the upper levels, or due to numerous injuries in the case of Singh (although he was unlikely to make it far beyond A-ball).

There are two players who were expected to be on the list, but who didn’t show up: Brandon Cumpton and Anderson Feliz. I was able to confirm that neither player was eligible for free agency, although both are Rule 5 eligible.

The Pirates drafted Cumpton in 2010, the same year that Jared Lakind was drafted, and the same year that Jose Osuna and Dovydas Neverauskas were signed. They had to add Osuna and Neverauskas to the 40-man roster to prevent them from becoming free agents. They re-signed Lakind to a minor league deal. But Cumpton wasn’t eligible for free agency, despite signing in the same year.

The reason for this is because Cumpton didn’t have seven years in the minors, and didn’t have seven active years. He spent the entire 2015 season on the MLB disabled list while recovering from Tommy John. That year on the disabled list didn’t count toward his free agent eligibility, which means he has one more year in the Pirates’ system before he’s eligible. Cumpton missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury that came up at the end of his Tommy John rehab. The hope is that he can return and perform in 2017, although his status is up in the air, as it’s difficult to project how he will do following two major arm injuries.

Feliz is a different case. He was signed in 2009, but spent all of 2015 in Indy ball. He was also released at the end of the 2009 season, and didn’t rejoin pro ball until May 2010, so his 2010 season wasn’t a complete year in pro ball. For this reason, he only has five complete years in the minors, rather than the six needed to be eligible for free agency. Feliz is an organizational player who can provide depth in the upper levels, and isn’t as notable as Cumpton, but it’s important to note why he’s still in the system.

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mitch t

Hope Cumpton can make the full recovery. He was a real hero as the designated call-up for a couple years. Would also like to see them resign Allie, I just see him clicking at some point and becoming a real MLB power hitter.


I give Allie a lot of credit for what he’s been able to accomplish, but I think he’s maxed out right where he is.


He can hit for power, but he seems to have maxed out in AA. With the salaries that relievers are being paid, I wonder if he may ever try to go back to pitching now that he is more physically mature.

From what I remember, he had the triple digit velo with no idea where the ball was going. A modern-day Ryne Duren?


Due to the lackluster free agent crop of starters it’ll be slightly interesting to see which team takes a gamble on masterson

Robert J

Have any of you seen Cumpton throw recently? is he even throwing ?

John Dreker

He had shoulder surgery late last season, which had a 13-15 month recovery added on to his TJ surgery last March, so he still has some time. I’d guess that he will be brought along slowly next year, but should be ready by Opening Day. You just might not see him then depending on their schedule.


Jason Erickson? Where has he played recently?


He’s a coach with Bradenton. He last played in 2011.


Other than Medina possibly, there isn’t anyone on the Pirates list that would be a cause for concern – all career minor leaguers, AAAA players, or former major leaguers who just don’t have it anymore….


I heard he was fly cause of funky cold Medina.


why not jason creasy he was 19 when signed.

John Dreker

That only matters for the Rule 5 draft, not minor league free agency. He has one more season.


so. 6 year minor leaguers,ala creasy need to go through
the turnstile 7 times nothing blatantly misnomered there.
don’t 18 year olds do the sisyphus trek one additional time.?
smells like feudalism to me.

John Dreker

It’s six full seasons, their draft year doesn’t count, so it’s seven seasons total for draft picks when you include the year they were drafted. For international players, they play seven seasons. The Rule 5 draft is where the age makes a difference, not free agency. Creasy became Rule 5 eligible a year earlier than players who were 17-18 when they signed back in 2011.

You can sign an international player at 16 or 25, he still plays seven seasons before he is a free agent. Pirates drafted a 24-year-old this year. He reaches free agency the same year as a 17-year-old. Age has nothing to do with free agency.


thanks john for the info i just wanted to use sisyphus
in a sentence.

John Dreker

Who doesn’t from time to time

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