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Ten Royals minor leaguers become eligible for free agency

Juan Carlos Negret and Jorge Bonifacio are among the minor league free agnets

Jorge Bonifacio is raking, with four multi-hit games this week.
Jorge Bonifacio is raking, with four multi-hit games this week.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

Ten Royals became minor league free agents this week, including former Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio. Minor leaguers can become eligible for free agency if they are not added to a 40-man roster after six full minor league seasons. The other nine Royals farmhands who are free to sign with any team include catcher José Briceño, infielders Angelo Castellano, Jeison Guzman, and Morgan McCullough, outfielder Juan Carlos Negret, and pitchers Joe Barlow, Brett de Geus, Justin Anderson, and Adrian Alcantara.

Bonifacio played for the Royals from 2017 to 2019 and has appeared in 224 big league games, also spending time with the Tigers and Phillies. He has been a .242/.312/.393 hitter with 23 home runs in 819 plate appearances. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2021, and he rejoined the Royals this year. The 30-year-old hit .267/.354/.483 with 22 home runs for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Briceño also has some big league experience, playing in 48 games for the Angels from 2018 to 2020. The 31-year-old Venezuela native hit .226/.275/.401 in 49 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

Castellano has spent over a decade in the Royals farm system, originally signing out of Venezuela in 2012 at the age of 17. This year was his third season at Omaha, where he hit .281/.384/.489 with a career-high 15 home runs in 107 games at age 28, while primarily playing shortstop.

Guzman began his career in the Royals organization in 2017, but was let go in 2021, briefly spending time in the Diamondbacks organization. The Royals brought him back in 2022, and he hit .244/.348/.423 with eight home runs in 64 games for Northwest Arkansas. He is one of a handful of Royals who were called up to be on a big league roster but never appeared in a MLB game.

McCullough was originally a 22nd round pick by the Angels out of Alabama in 2019, but was let go after one year. He spent 2021 with the independent Kansas City Monarchs, and joined the Royals organization the next year. This year the 25-year old hit .245/.349/.402 with seven home runs in 86 games across Double-A and Triple-A, playing all over the infield.

Negret was originally signed by the Braves out of Cuba, but was declared a free agent when the Braves were implicated in a signing scandal. The Royals signed him in 2018 and he moved up the farm system showing good power. This year he repeated High-A this year at age 24, hitting .210/.306/.390 with a team-high 19 home runs.

Barlow spent the last three seasons with the Rangers, collecting 24 saves with a 3.05 ERA in 79 big league appearances before the Royals claimed him off waivers in August of this year. He significantly outperformed his FIP as a big leaguer, relying significantly on his slider. He gave up 29 hits and 18 runs in 18 13 innings at Omaha this year with a 7.36 ERA.

de Geus saw some big league action in 2021 with the Rangers and Braves posting a 7.56 ERA in 50 innings. The Royals signed him to a minor league deal away from the independent Atlantic League early this summer, and the 26-year-old right-hander had a 4.86 ERA in 46 13 innings across Double-A and Triple-A.

Anderson appeared in 111 games with the Angels over 2018-19 with a 4.75 ERA and 11.2 strikeouts-per-nine innings. He had Tommy John surgery in 2020, and has yet to reach the big leagues since then. The Royals signed him to a minor league deal this summer and he struck out 20 hitters to just 5 walks in 15 2/3 innings in Double-A, but with a 7.47 ERA. The right-hander turned 31 in September.

Alcantara began playing in the farm system in 2017 at the age of 17. He reached as high as Double-A this year, but overall had a 4.30 ERA across three levels, with 30 walks and 22 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. Alcantara is just 24 years-old, but has a career 4.54 ERA in the minors.

You can see a complete list of minor league free agents at Baseball America. Among the bigger names are Jesus Aguilar, Charlie Culberson, Brad Zimmer, Trayce Thompson, Yonathan Daza, Nick Solak, Trey Wingenter, Tucker Barnhart, David Dahl, Mike Montgomery, Oscar Mercado, Ken Giles, Jorge Alfaro, Fernando Abad, Tony Wolters, Austin Brice, Tim Locastro, Jake Lamb, Wilmer Difo, Drew Hutchison, Yoshi Tsutsugo, Adam Engel, Cole Sulser, Billy Hamilton, Paul Fry, Rowan Wick, Matt Wisler, Matt Adams, Sean Doolittle, and Wily Peralta.

Danny Duffy is among the former Royals on the list as well as Sebastian Rivero, Xavier Fernandez, Mike Morin, Garrett Davila, Luke Farrell, Ben Lively, Jack Lopez, Jake Kalish, Zach Willeman, Richard Lovelady, Brewer Hicklen, Robbie Glendinning, Zach Haake, Aaron Brooks, Jakson Reetz, Braden Shipley, Nick Wittgren, A.J. Puckett, Elier Hernandez, Josh Dye, Matt Peacock, Junior Fernandez, and Daniel Mengden.