Outfielder Elier Hernandez is one of twenty Royals players eligible for minor league free agency, according to a list produced by Baseball America. Players who are not on the 40-man roster may become minor league free agents if they have (1) spent all or any part of at least seven separate seasons on a minor league roster; or (2) been previously released and are on their second contract that has expired. The Royals had given Hernandez a $3.05 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic, the largest international bonus they have ever handed out. But Hernandez has failed to develop much, and the 24-year old hit just .245/.296/.364 with 10 home runs in 112 games for Omaha last year.
Also becoming a free agent is pitcher Bryan Brickhouse, who returned from Tommy John surgery and retirement to throw 100 mph. The 27-year old struggled with his command, walking 29 while striking out 31 in 33 2⁄3 innings with a 6.15 ERA across three levels this past season.
Omaha starting pitchers Jonathan Dziedzic and Zach Lovvorn will become free agents after a rough season navigating the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League. The left-handed Dziedzic had a 5.25 ERA in 58 1⁄3 innings for the Storm Chasers, while the right-handed Lovvorn had an ugly 8.84 ERA in 75 1⁄3 innings.
Pitcher Andres Machado, who pitched a few innings for the Royals in 2017, is also a free agent after posting 2.89 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings. The 26-year old right-hander was designated for assignment by the club last year, re-signing on a minor league contract.
Catcher Xavier Fernandez is a free agent after a career as an offense-minded catcher. The 24-year old right-handed hitter has been a solid bat in his career, hitting .272/.334/.407, including .273/.326/.432 with five home runs in 39 games for Omaha last year.
Other minor league free agents include catchers Jesus Atencio, Allan de San Miguel, Adam Moore, and Andrew Susac, first baseman Jordan George, infielders Chase d’Arnaud, Taylor Featherston, Angel Franco, Jecckson Flores, and Erich Weiss, and pitchers Winston Abreu, Andrew Ferguson, Luis Hernandez, and Nick Howard.
The list of minor league free agents includes a number of players that once played in the Royals organization including catcher Francisco Pena, first basemen Cody Decker (who retired in July), Samir Duenez, infielders Cody Asche, Christian Colon, Orlando Calixte, Emilio Bonifacio, outfielders Lane Adams, Gregor Blanco, Billy Burns, Terrance Gore, and pitchers Miguel Almonte, Brandon Maurer, Tim Collins, Eric Stout, Greg Holland and Ervin Santana.
Former big leaguers in the list include catchers Wilin Rosario, Josh Thole, infielders Matt Davidson, Danny Espinosa, Ruben Tejada, Andrew Romine, Pete Kozma, outfielders Brandon Barnes, Alejandro de Aza, Brandon Guyer, Mikie Mahtook, Chris Parmalee, Shane Peterson, Taylor Motter and pitchers Drew Hutchison, Ian Krol, Randall Delgado, Trevor Rosenthal, Rex Brothers, Matt Harvey, Vidal Nuno, Jake Petricka, Matt Bush, and John Axford.