Everyone is focused on Major League free agents like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain, but 572 players quietly became eligible for minor league free agency this week. Minor league free agents are players that have had a minor league “Uniform Player Contract” renewed six times and have not been added to the 40-man roster. You can see the complete list at Baseball America here.
Craig Stammen, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, and Dusty Coleman were among the minor league free agents last year who stuck around on a Major League roster this year at cheap cost. At the very least, minor league free agents help you fill out your AAA roster so your prospects have some teammates to play with!
Thirteen Royals players are eligible for minor league free agency, including former Futures Game participant Christian Binford. The 24-year old right-hander struggled in the upper minors with a 6.11 ERA and has not been effective the last three seasons. Sinkerballer Yender Caramo - who impressed Royals coaches in spring training - is also a free agent after a 5.04 ERA in 84 innings for Omaha. Other free agent pitchers include Luis Rico, Chris Withrow, Malcom Culver, Mark Peterson, and Jared Schlehuber.
Garin Cecchini is a former top prospect with the Red Sox that the Royals signed last winter, and is eligible again for free agency this year. Dean Anna, Ruben Sosa, and Zach Walters also go back on the market after signing with the Royals last year. Brayan Pena is a free agent after playing with Omaha last year as a player and quasi-coach. Third baseman Mauricio Ramos, who represented Colombia in the World Baseball Classic last year, is also a free agent after hitting .258/.299/.388 in 92 games for Northwest Arkansas last year.
The Royals have already re-signed pitchers Seth Maness and Onelki Garcia, who were both eligible for free agency.
Some former Royals or Royals farmhand on the list include Omar Infante, Christian Colon, Kris Medlen, Tim Collins, Emilio Bonifacio, David Lough, Vin Mazzaro, Nate Adcock, Brooks Pounders, John Lamb, Michael Mariot, Clayton Mortensen, Tony Cruz, Yohan Pino, Cody Decker, Travis Snider, Patrick Leonard, Sean O’Sullivan, and Aaron Laffey
Players on the list include former top prospects like Anthony Gose, Mike Olt, Nick Franklin, Matt Purke, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Luis Heredia, Sean Nolin, former first round picks like Jemile Weeks, Zack Cox, Grant Green, Dustin Ackley, Jeremy Bleich, and Dante Bichette, Jr., and former Major League regulars like Ryan Howard, Chris Johnson, Chris Carter, Brendan Ryan, Chris Colabello, Brandon Barnes, Donovan Solano, Justin Masterson, Jair Jurrjens, Tom Gorzelanny, Neal Cotts, Felix Doubront, and Kevin Jepsen. Also on the list are switch-pitching Creighton grad Pat Venditte and catcher/pitcher Christian Bethancourt.
See any names you like? The Royals could probably use the depth!