Baseball America has published the list of all minor league free agents, particularly those where were drafted in 2007 and who are now beyond their initial professional contracts.
There are several notable names on this list:
From the Buffalo Bisons, relief pitcher Joel Carreno is probably one of the biggest names to grace the list. He’s had some success in the major leagues and had an excellent season in Double- and Triple-A this past year. I’d like to see Carreno back in the organization but with such a deep bullpen ahead of him, he may look somewhere else.
Buddy Carlyle is no surprise. He pitched very well in Buffalo and was, no doubt, signed as bullpen depth. He’s a veteran who is 35 years old and will probably not be resigned.
Juan Perez, as per a release earlier today, was outrighted off the 40-man roster but was signed to a minor league contract for next year with an invitation to Spring Training.
Two first basemen from Buffalo, Luis Jimenez and Clint Robinson were both listed by Matt Eddy at Baseball America. Jimenez had a very good season in Triple-A and I could see him getting another contract with the Blue Jays. Personally, I’d rather see Jimenez return than Robinson. Robinson has an excellent eye at the plate but struggled in Triple-A after some strong numbers in Double-A New Hampshire. Both are left-handed hitters.
Jim Negrych and Mike McCoy are two more infielders who become free agents. I could see Negrych resigning to keep playing in his home town of Buffalo and has been seen as a solid Triple-A infielder but likely will not get much of a sniff of the major leagues with the Blue Jays. McCoy has been around quite a while and will likely get quite a number of offers due to his versatility. If he wants to return to Buffalo with the Blue Jays, he will be back.
Not listed was catcher Mike Nickeas who, via official announcement earlier, was resigned to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Nickeas is a good-glove, no-hit catcher who hails from British Columbia.
Buffalo outfielders Blake Gailen and Ricardo Nanita also become free agents. Gailen was signed towards the end of the season out of the Atlantic League (independent) and had solid numbers in eight games with the Bisons. Nanita is 32 years old and a Dominican native. He’s been around and around in the minor leagues and will likely catch on somewhere. I think that he has a good relationship with the Blue Jays and I’ve heard (through the grapevine) that he’s a friend of Jose Bautista‘s.
Double-A pitchers Chad Beck, Tyson Brummett, Alan Farina, Marcus Walden and Willie Collazo all become free agents. Beck, Farina and Collazo all spent much of the last couple of years injured with Farina and Beck both coming back from injury (Collazo was on the DL all season). Brummett was okay in New Hampshire and is now pitching in Venezuela, probably in the hopes of catching someone’s eye to get a better deal somewhere.
Marcus Walden is probably the most interesting name of this bunch. Walden had a solid year with New Hampshire but he’s not the type of guy who’s sexy when evaluating pitchers. That said, I saw him pitch and he is a guy who pitches to contact and gets a ton of ground balls. Marc Hulet of Fangraphs wrote this about Walden:
#bluejays minor league free agent pitcher Marcus Walden deserves a flyer and 40-man roster spot. Was starting but suited for relief. +GB%
— Marc Hulet (@marchulet) November 5, 2013
Also becoming free agents are infielders Jon Talley, Lance Zawadzki and former first and second round picks from 2007, Kevin Ahrens and John Tolisano. None of these players had particularly bad years. Ahrens had moments where everything came together around a lot of tough times this year (I saw him hit a mammoth home run in New Hampshire) while Tolisano had pretty respectable numbers (a .704 OPS). Talley and Zawadzki didn’t play much and I can see all four players walking away from the Blue Jays organization.
Outfielder Adam Loewen is the sole outfielder from New Hampshire who becomes a free agent. Loewen, also from British Columbia, has really become quite a solid minor league hitter after starting his career as an excellent pitcher. Is the 29-year-old going to be able to make the majors? Time will tell but there is a good chance that the good relationship that Loewen has with the Blue Jays organization will continue with another minor league contract.
There are only three free agents that come from below the Double-A level. Catcher Brian Compton who was signed because of a rash of injuries and the suspension of Sean Ochinko. He will likely not return. Daniel Arcila was only in Vancouver and will also likely not return with a huge number of younger players looking for positions with in the organization. Finally, Oliver Dominguez is the third player. He reached Dunedin but didn’t play a heck of a lot and didn’t produce much when he did. I don’t foresee him coming back either.