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 have a look at the Cubs!
The Cubs only had 11 minor league free agents this year, one of the lowest totals in the majors.
Of the three pitchers leaving the organization, by far the most well known is lefty Casey Fossum. Fossum bounced through three organizations this past year, delivering acceptable results.
He could be a decent situational lefty in the majors at this point, but nothing more; he's far too prone to wildness and the long ball to be counted in any more prominent of a role.
Vince Perkins throws a good sinker but has little control of it, so while he gets a good amount of grounders, he's far too wild to be trusted in the majors. He's also got a long injury history. He's useful enough to fill a Triple-A roster though.
Former major league catcher Mark Johnson has a tremendous batting eye, a slight dash of power, and he hits left-handed, so if Paul Bako was a major league backup for 10 years, Johnson could be too. However, he's 34 and missed most of last year, so his time is likely close to up.
Matt Craig is an okay-ish hitter, until you realize he's a first baseman and needs to slug much better than .404 in Triple-A to be of much use at that position. He's strictly minor league filler.
Bobby Scales had a nice year for AAA Iowa and got in some work with the Cubs; there are worse major league utility guys.
Nate Spears controls the strike zone well, but doesn't drive the ball well or play very good defense at second base, so his whole skill set is still subpar. Like Craig, he's not a complete embarrassment in the minors, but it's not like he's got much MLB potential either.
Wrapping up this list are three of the most intriguing minor league free agents corner outfielders out there: Doug Deeds, John-Ford Griffin, and Brad Snyder.
Deeds bashed the ball in Double-A (.305/.353/.534), and was acceptable in his first real Triple-A look; he's also an athletic, solid defender at left, right, and first.
Griffin, one of my all-time favorite players and a former Toronto Blue Jay, is a longtime minor league slugger who had a down year in the power department but still showed solid hitting skills. He could hit 25-30 homers in the right environment if given a chance.
An oft-injured former Indians prospect, Snyder exploded just as everyone finally gave up on him, slugging .549 in his Triple-A debut.
He's an athletic player who recently concluded an incredible Mexican Winter League performance, posting a 1.059 OPS and stealing 16 bases.
If he could stay healthy, Snyder could potentially be a very solid performer at the major league level in 2010.
That's all for this edition! The Reds are next...