Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Minor League Free Agency

It's that time of year again - minor league free agency! Clearly this is the most important period of the offseason...the Phillies contingent of minor league free agent position players includes:

C John Castellano
C Dusty Wathan
C Jeff Winchester
1B Gary Burnham
1B Brandon Gemoll
1B Randall Simon
2B Carlos Leon
3B Brennan King
SS Avelino Asprilla
SS Jonathan Johnson
SS Jesus Merchan
SS Juan Sosa
OF Peter Bergeron
OF Ryan Fleming
OF Gary Harris
OF Josh Kroeger
OF Matt Padgett
OF Brian Sellier
OF Pedro Swann

They all can go find new jobs except for King and Kroeger – sadly, both of the K & K boys count as decent hitting prospects in a Phillies farm system lacking in talented position players. To rectify that, the Phillies can always go scrounging around the minor league free agent heap - that is how they landed Kroeger and King last year, after all. Names that could interest the Phils include:

  • C Guillermo Quiroz (Age 25: .267/.321/.411 for AA San Antonio and AAA Tacoma) – After being deemed Toronto’s catcher of the future following his breakthrough 2003 season at AA, Quiroz’ performance has steadily declined. The dearth of good catching in baseball make this young backstop worth a look, especially if you can slip him through waivers and keep him as your third catcher on the depth chart/starter at AAA.

  • 1B Jeff Bailey (Age 28: .275/.383/.489 for AAA Pawtucket) – Bailey is as good a candidate in all the minor leagues to emerge as the next Chris Coste. He fits the profile as a well traveled minor league veteran capable of playing multiple positions (first base, corner outfield, and emergency catcher). On top of that, Bailey kills lefty pitching – 1.035 OPS against them in 2006. Fun fact: Bailey is exactly one year older than Phils first baseman Ryan Howard.

  • 1B Brandon Sing (Age 26: .196/.330/.341 for AA West Tennessee and AAA Iowa) – Believe it or not, I’ve already written about Sing on this website about ten months ago. Since that time, Sing’s game has completely fallen apart – his two great years in 2004 and 2005 are a distant memory in the minds of many after his disaster of a 2006 although we probably should have seen the potential of a freefall coming as he was old relative to the leagues in both ’04 and ’05. Sing obviously can not be expected to help a big league club in ’07, but he still has enough youth on his side that he would be an excellent option as the Ottawa AAA next year.

  • 3B Terry Tiffee (Age 28: .273/.314/.377 in AAA Rochester) – Tiffee is a decent hitter with major league experience and has proven himself capable at playing third base at the big league level.

  • OF Mike Restovich (Age 28: .293/.374/.560 in AAA Iowa) – Restovich has long been a personal favorite of mine and is a player who clearly deserves a spot in the majors. I’d be willing to give him a shot as part of a platoon in an outfield corner on the Phillies in 2007 – that’s how confident I am that Restovich can hit lefty pitching at the big league level.

  • OF Luis Montanez (Age 25: .277/.340/.415 at AA West Tennessee and AAA Iowa) – Montanez spent the second half of this past season working in the AAA Iowa outfield with fellow current minor league free agent Mike Restovich. He was originally drafted by the Cubs with the third overall pick in the 2000 draft out of Coral Park HS in Miami. He began his pro career as a shortstop with big-time offensive potential…hmm, a high school shortstop with a high offensive ceiling from Miami…the Alex Rodriguez comparisons were everywhere – especially after Montanez garnered the short season MVP award in 2000. Unfortunately for Montanez, he was never able to get close to his 2000 numbers and his career stalled until a move out of the middle infield in 2005. His improvement from year to year since being converted to the outfield is for real – Montanez may never live up to his draft billing, but he will be a useful major leaguer before long.

Other minor league free agent hitters of note: OF Abraham Nunez (the other one), former Philies 3B prospect Travis Chapman, and recent former Phils INFs Bobby Scales and SS Angel Chavez

A look at interesting minor league free agent pitchers to come…


Blogger GM-Carson said...

Smart fiscally-wise clubs scour the minor league free agents and find diamonds in the rough. There are plenty of relievers and bench guys to be had at dirt cheap prices. Some of these guys can even develop into more prominent roles.

7:10 AM  

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