With Spring Training just over two weeks away teams are frantically making final adjustments to their roster. Players who have been free agents are now starting to be concerned if teams have not been calling with contract offers.
This is usually the time when teams can find those one or two players that may help their club without having to spend a tremendous amount of money. Most of the transactions coming across the wire generally include the phrase “signed to a minor league contract”.
For players it is an opportunity to continue their baseball career. With a good Spring Training performance it may propel them onto the Major League Roster and a potential raise. These types of agreements are low risk/high reward if everything works out and could just maybe be the piece that moves a team from an average season to one with post-season aspirations.
Several former Arizona Diamondbacks fall in this category. Former Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings signed such a deal with the San Diego Padres earlier this week. He will be among the pitchers and catchers arriving in Peoria later this month.
Now word coming out of Denver is that the Colorado Rockies have signed former Diamondbacks infielder Chad Tracy to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. He will soon be reporting to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick but will be on the visitor’s side along first base instead. Tracy spent last year with the Chicago Cubs and hopes to make the Rockies as a reserve infielder.
Former starting pitcher Armando Galarraga, who started on the Major League roster with the Diamondbacks before being sent to Reno, signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles with an invitation to Spring Training. Galarraga is attempting to rebound from a sub-par season and could figure into the Orioles plans as either a starter or more likely a long reliever.
Two other former Diamondbacks pitchers signed with the Houston Astros. Livian Hernandez and Zach Duke both signed major league contracts and will be reporting to Spring Training in Kissimmee Florida later this month.
The one prominent player from the Diamondbacks 2011 team still unsigned is the X-Man Xavier Nady. Nady struggled to stay healthy last season with Arizona and may be finding his options limited. When healthy he can still hit and provide adequate defense so there may still be time for the 33-year-old veteran.
One former Diamondbacks player who is not getting much interest is pitcher Brandon Webb who has not thrown a pitch in a Major League game in nearly three seasons. After shoulder surgery and a lengthy rehab that took him from Arizona to Texas the former Cy Young Award winner still hopes to play but must show he is healthy enough to pitch. There is talk that Webb will show his health during tryouts in early March with hopes of getting a contract.