In the offseason, much is made of the comings and goings of established major league players in free agency.
But many often overlook the same thing happening in the minor leagues.
In the "Recapping Minor League Free Agent Losses" series, I'll be looking at what, if anything, each team is losing at the minor league levels.
I'm not going to bother covering every player, because not all of them are very important and I have little to say about many of them. I'll just be touching on those who I think could be of value to another team in free agency.
Anyway, let's begin!
Most of Arizona's 15 minor league free agents have major league experience.
They have lost five pitchers—Jon Coutlangus, Scott Dohmann, Bobby Korecky, Seth Etherton, and Ramon Sanchez.
All but Sanchez have major league experience.
Korecky, who's pitched for Minnesota and Arizona, is a righty reliever who's had success in Triple-A for years with mostly generic stuff (90-mph fastball, 80-mph slider) and decent command. His slider is his best pitch.
Korecky would make for a decent, no-cost, mop-up bullpen guy or insurance Triple-A reliever.
Sanchez throws hard, but his control is extremely poor, and he walked over a batter per inning at Double-A this year. At 25, he's unlikely to make any major improvements.
Catchers Orlando Mercado and Matt Tupman are both low-power, OBP-oriented backstops with decent defense.
Tupman, a former Royal, struggled in Double-A last year, but Mercado, who will only be 25 next year, offers considerable promise, posting a .297 OBP between AA and AAA. Mercado quickly signed with Atlanta and is thus guaranteed a 2010 job.
Speaking of OBP, infielder Ruben Gotay, another former major leaguer, walked 102 times in Triple-A last year, posting a .272/.429/.450 line.
The switch-hitter could be a solid utility guy in the majors next year; he caught on with St. Louis and could be 2010's Joe Thurston.
Former MLB utiltyman Abraham Nunez is also available after posting a .367 OBP last year in AAA, but with very little power and declining defense, he probably doesn't deserve another MLB look.
Mexican third baseman Agustin Murillo at least warrants a mention due to his solid plate discipline (33/31 K/BB in AAA), but he doesn't have much power for a third baseman.
The team's three minor league free agent outfielders (Trent Oeltjen, Brandon Watson, and Chris Roberson) are all former major leaguers who could serve fifth outfielder roles.
Oeltjen, who slugged .500 in AAA last year, offers the best hitting, but is limited to the corner outfield positions.
Roberson is a switch-hitter with average power and above average speed (30 steals in '09), while the declining Watson is a nice defender who can hit a single or pick up a steal occasionally.
Oeltjen has signed with Milwaukee, while Roberson and Watson remain unsigned.
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