Major League free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado get all the attention in the off-season, but there are hundreds of minor leaguers who could be changing organizations as well this winter. Minor league free agents are players that have served seven full years in the minor leagues and have not been added to the 40-man roster.
Often times these are journeyman players, hoping to latch onto an organization for one more shot at the big leagues. It can be a pretty stressful process, with no guarantees for a job the following spring.
In the Royals organization, 14 players are eligible for minor league free agency. Outfielder Paulo Orlando, who was just outrighted off the 40-man roster last week, is now free to sign with any club. So is former first-round pick Kyle Zimmer, who continues to rehab at the Driveline Baseball facility after missing the entire season due to injury. Outfielder Billy Burns, the 29-year old switch-hitter with 46 steals in 242 big league games, is also a free agent. The Royals or any other team are free to sign these players to minor league deals, as is commonly done, or even a Major League deal, as they did with Scott Barlow last year.
Royals Minor League free agents
Catchers: Parker Morin, Luis Villegas
Infielders: Alex Liddi, Jack Lopez, Ramon Torres
Outfielders: Billy Burns, Alfredo Escalera, Paulo Orlando
Pitchers: Pedro Fernandez, Luis Hernandez, Yimaury Pena, Sam Selman, Jose Veras, Kyle Zimmer
You can see a full list of minor league free agents courtesy of Baseball America. It includes some old friends like Terrance Gore, Francisco Pena, Dan Nava, Dusty Coleman, Patrick Leonard, Emilio Bonifacio, Orlando Calixte, Andres Blanco, Irving Falu, Christian Colon, Reymond Fuentes, Lane Adams, Tim Melville, John Lamb, Kevin Chapman, Buddy Baumann, and Casey Coleman.
Do you see any players that Royals should be interested in?