Hot stove begins to warm as 121 players become free agents under Article XX B

Free agency and the Major League Baseball offseason represent a time of optimism and hope for baseball teams and their fans. By the time the last pitch in the World Series is thrown, all 30 teams are already hard at work in their effort to assemble the best possible roster for the following season.

When the season ends, free agency begins and every team suddenly has the chance to sign some of the game's biggest stars and most respected veterans.

By then, fans of last-place and also-ran teams have already been posting and debating hypothetical roster moves online for months, dreaming of worst-to-first scenarios if only their team makes the right free-agent investments. Even the World Series-winning team will have a few tweaks in mind to increase its chances of a repeat.

For players, free agency is a hard-earned opportunity. To reach the open market, the player first spends years in the Minor Leagues, and then battles in the Majors for at least six seasons. It's no small feat.

"Making it that far certainly to me is a huge accomplishment," said free-agent reliever Andrew Miller, who posted a 2.02 ERA in 62 1/3 innings this year for the Red Sox and Orioles. "Ultimately this is probably my best chance to make a significant amount of money in this game and take care of my family."

Having gotten a taste of the playoffs with the Orioles this year, playing for a competitor is also a priority for Miller in free agency.

The ability of a player to choose his own team after six years of MLB service hasn't always been a part of the game. It took decades of effort and sacrifice from the players before free agency became a reality.

In 1966, Marvin Miller, an economist with the United Steelworkers union, was hired by the players to help establish the Major League Baseball Players Association. Two years later, he negotiated the game's first collective bargaining agreement, which ultimately led to unprecedented gains for the players, including an independent arbitration process, and, eventually, free agency.

Players like Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally pioneered the cause of eliminating a team's ability to control a player his entire career - the reserve clause -- and dictate his salary without negotiation. After free agency began in 1975, players in succeeding generations sacrificed to preserve that right.

"Certainly we reap the benefits of the strength of this union in the past," Miller said. "The fact that we have the potential to make so much money getting to play a baseball game, we owe that to the people who came before."

Now, Miller feels it is part of his duty to "keep making it better for players or at least do what we can to maintain what we've earned and appreciate what we've earned."

Free agency has increased in importance and interest over time. In the last decade, internet usage has risen from about 65 percent of the United States population to more than 80 percent. With that change, the MLB offseason has become an event itself.

Fans delight in predicting, debating and analyzing free-agent destinations and contracts on their favorite websites and social media. The marketplace interest usually peaks in December during baseball's Winter Meetings. Other sports have free agency, but it's not like this.

In 2014, free agency is a huge part of baseball. Will your team add a No. 1 starter this winter? How about a power bat for the middle of the lineup? The possibilities are endless.

Tim Dierkes is the founder of MLBTradeRumors.com, a site devoted to the baseball marketplace. You can follow the site's Twitter feed @mlbtraderumors for real-time updates.

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(Updated 11.03.14) Below is the complete list of 137 free-agent players, sorted by 2014 team, eligible to negotiate and sign with any club beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Atlanta Braves
Emilio Bonifacio
Ryan Doumit
Gavin Floyd
Aaron Harang
Gerald Laird
Ervin Santana

Baltimore Orioles
Alexi Casilla
Nelson Cruz
Nick Hundley
Kelly Johnson
Nick Markakis
Andrew Miller
Johan Santana
Joe Saunders
Delmon Young

Boston Red Sox
Burke Badenhop
Craig Breslow
Ryan Dempster
David Ross
Koji Uehara

Chicago Cubs
Kyuji Fujikawa
Carlos Villanueva

Chicago White Sox
Paul Konerko
Matt Lindstrom
Felipe Paulino

Cincinnati Reds
Jack Hannahan
Ryan Ludwick
Ramon Santiago

Cleveland Indians
Jason Giambi

Colorado Rockies
Brett Anderson
Matt Belisle
Michael Cuddyer
Nick Masset
Franklin Morales

Detroit Tigers
Joba Chamberlain
Phil Coke
Joel Hanrahan
Torii Hunter
Jim Johnson
Victor Martinez
Max Scherzer

Houston Astros
Matt Albers
Jesse Crain
Jose Veras

Kansas City Royals
Norichika Aoki
Billy Butler
Scott Downs
Jason Frasor
Luke Hochevar
Raul Ibanez
James Shields
Josh Willingham

Los Angeles Angels
Sean Burnett
Jason Grilli
John McDonald
Joe Thatcher

Los Angeles Dodgers
Josh Beckett
Chad Billingsley
Kevin Correia
Roberto Hernandez
Paul Maholm
Chris Perez
Hanley Ramirez
Jamey Wright

Miami Marlins
Rafael Furcal
Kevin Gregg
Reed Johnson
Brad Penny

Milwaukee Brewers
Zach Duke
Tom Gorzelanny
Lyle Overbay
Mark Reynolds
Francisco Rodriguez
Rickie Weeks

Minnesota Twins
Jared Burton

New York Mets
Bobby Abreu
Daisuke Matsuzaka

New York Yankees
Chris Capuano
Stephen Drew
Chase Headley
Rich Hill
Derek Jeter
Hiroki Kuroda
Brandon McCarthy
David Robertson
Ichiro Suzuki
Chris Young

Oakland Athletics
Alberto Callaspo
Jonny Gomes
Luke Gregerson
Jason Hammel
Jon Lester
Jed Lowrie
Hiroyuki Nakajima*
Geovany Soto

Philadelphia Phillies
Mike Adams
A.J. Burnett
Kyle Kendrick
Wil Nieves

Pittsburgh Pirates
Clint Barmes
Francisco Liriano
Russell Martin
Edinson Volquez

San Diego Padres
Josh Johnson
Tim Stauffer

San Francisco Giants
Michael Morse
Jake Peavy
Sergio Romo
Pablo Sandoval
Ryan Vogelsong

Seattle Mariners
Joe Beimel
Endy Chavez
Chris Denorfia
Franklin Gutierrez
Kendrys Morales
Humberto Quintero
Chris Young

St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Ellis
Justin Masterson
Jason Motte
Pat Neshek
A.J. Pierzynski

Texas Rangers
Scott Baker
Neal Cotts
Colby Lewis
Alex Rios

Toronto Blue Jays
Melky Cabrera
Casey Janssen
Munenori Kawasaki*
Dustin McGowan
Brandon Morrow
Colby Rasmus

Washington Nationals
Asdrubal Cabrera
Scott Hairston
Adam LaRoche
Nate Schierholtz
Rafael Soriano

*Eligible per contract terms