This time: Nov. 16-21
For more immediate updates on key minor league free agent signings, follow me on Twitter: @eddymk
If you're a Rule 5 draft buff, you can find a complete record of every player added to 40-man rosters this offseason.
Signed: 3B Sean Burroughs
Traded: RHP Scottie Allen to Yankees for 1B Juan Miranda
Since Kevin Towers assumed the reins in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks have acquired three players with ties to the Padres, Towers' longtime employer. Sean Burroughs (the ninth overall pick by San Diego in ’98) is the latest, joining Geoff Blum (who signed a major league deal) and Brian Sweeney (a waiver claim from the Mariners).
Once a highly-touted prospect, Burroughs washed out with the Padres, batting .282/.340/.360 in parts of four seasons. He proved unwilling or unable to adjust his batting approach to hit for more power. Burroughs last played for the Mariners' Triple-A Tacoma affiliate in ’07, appearing in just four games.
Signed: RHP Jay Sborz, C Wilkin Castillo, 3B Shawn Bowman, SS Ed Lucas, OF Jose Constanza
Released: RHP Jamie Hayes, RHP Edigson Mora
Traded: OF Cody Johnson to Yankees for cash considerations
The Braves kicked into high gear on the minor league free agent market, signing five players who had competition for their services:
• A solid defender at the hot corner, Shawn Bowman hit 22 homers and slugged .484 for Double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays) this season.
• Wilkin Castillo spends most of his time at catcher, but he runs well enough (and naturally throws well enough) to play third and second base and both corner outfield spots. He hasn't hit in Triple-A—just .244/.284/.362 in 256 games—but he's worth a shot as true utilityman.
• Speedy center fielder Jose Constanza played for the Indians' Triple-A Columbus title team. He hit .319/.373/.394 this year, and in six seasons in the U.S. has accumulated 210 stolen bases at an 81 percent success rate.
• Versatile infielder Ed Lucas, 28, hit a career-best .307/.398/.480 with 13 homers and a 52/68 walk/strikeout ratio for Triple-A Omaha (Royals), playing mostly middle infield.
• Jay Sborz has undeniable arm strength (career 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings), but he issued too many walks (4.9 per nine) and allowed too many home runs (1.6) for Triple-A Toledo (Tigers) this season.
Released: RHP Dustin Carder, RHP Jairo de la Cruz, RHP D.D. Hanks, RHP Travis Keating, RHP Eiris Ramirez, RHP Jesse Rasner, RHP Jean Carlos Reyes, LHP Blake Mechaw, LHP Tyler Sexton, 1B T.J. Baxter, 1B Preston Hale, SS Brad Decater, SS Javier Santana, OF Edwin Cintron, OF David Rivera
Elected free agency: RHP Armando Gabino
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Armando Gabino, 1B Rhyne Hughes
Boston Red Sox
Signed: 2B Drew Sutton
Drew Sutton, a 27-year-old who has big league time with the Reds and Indians, does a number of things well. He switch-hits, works counts and plays second, short and third. He hasn't shown much power at the upper levels, but he did smack 20 homers in Double-A in ’08.
Signed: LHP Scott Rice, 3B Scott Moore, 3B Bobby Scales (re-signed), OF Bryan Lahair (re-signed)
Scott Moore played for the organization from 2005 to ’07, providing lefthanded power at the hot corner. He has a career .473 slugging average in Triple-A, despite spending the last three seasons in stifling Norfolk (Orioles).
The Cubs re-signed second baseman/left fielder Bobby Scales, who made his big league debut for Chicago in ’09 after 11 years in the minors.
Chicago White Sox
Signed: 2B Drew Thompson
Released: 2B Jeff Tezak, SS Michael Richard, OF Ryan Lee, OF Marcus Spencer
Signed: RHP Chad Reineke (re-signed)
Signed: RHP Anthony Reyes (re-signed)
Released: LHP Tyler Conn
Removed from 40-man roster: LHP Fu-Te Ni
Reinstated from inactive list: LHP Tyler Conn
Signed: RHP Frank Mata, LHP Victor Garate, SS Tim Torres (re-signed), OF Josh Kroeger, OF Vinny Rottino (re-signed)
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Brett Sinkbeil
Corner outfielder Josh Kroeger is a solid lefty bat who makes contact and is good for 15 homers and 15 steals at the Triple-A level. If he gets an extended look in Miami, think souped-up Jeff Salazar.
The Marlins re-signed Vinny Rottino, who is something like Racine, Wisconsin's, answer to Wilkin Castillo in that he plays catcher as well as corner outfield and some third base.
Signed: LHP Edwin Walker (re-signed)
Released: RHP Rafael Feliz, RHP John Frawley, RHP Justin Harper, RHP Ashton Mowdy, RHP Daniel Sarisky, RHP Mike Schurz, LHP David Duncan, 1B Aaron Bray, 1B Mark Ori, 1B Nick Stanley, 3B Ricardo Garcia, OF Frank Almonte, OF Ricardo Heredia
Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Steven Shell, OF Brett Carroll
Elected free agency: RHP Brian Anderson
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Brian Anderson
Los Angeles Angels
Signed: RHP Bear Bay (Joliet (Northern))
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed: RHP Jon Huber (re-signed), C Keyter Collado (re-signed)
Signed: LHP Phil Dumatrait (LG Twins (Korea)), 1B Jeff Bailey, 1B Justin Huber (Hiroshima (Japan))
The Twins add a pair of established Triple-A mashers in Jeff Bailey and Justin Huber as they look to improve their depth in the high minors. Their Double-A (New Britain) and Triple-A (Rochester) clubs finished with the worst records in their respective classifications. The 28-year-old Huber hit .220 with seven homers in 177 at-bats for Hiroshima this year.
New York Yankees
Signed: LHP Neal Cotts, LHP Daniel Martinez
Traded: 1B Juan Miranda to Diamondbacks for RHP Scottie Allen
Acquired: OF Cody Johnson from Braves for cash considerations
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Yobanny Reyes
A member of the World Series-champion White Sox bullpen in ’05, Neal Cotts has hit on hard times since then. He didn't pitch at all this season after hip surgery, and this on top of having Tommy John surgery in ’09. He last took the mound on June 24, 2008, for the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa affiliate.
Signed: RHP Anthony Lerew, 3B Adam Heether (re-signed), 3B Wes Timmons
Traded: OF Rajai Davis to Blue Jays for RHP Danny Farquhar and RHP Trystan Magnuson
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Jose Sanchez
The two faces of Anthony Lerew . . .With the Royals this season he ran up an 8.54 ERA, which tied Andrew Miller for the highest in baseball among starters with at least six starts. On the other hand, Lerew had a shiny 1.11 ERA through six appearances in the Venezuelan League. In fact, he threw a no-hitter for Magallanes on Nov. 21, striking out four and walking four Caracas batters.
In addition to bringing back third baseman Adam Heether, the A's also signed strong-armed, steady 31-year-old Wes Timmons, formerly of the Braves. In five seasons at the Triple-A level, he has hit .273/.384/.376 thanks to a 232/142 walk/strikeout ratio.
Released: C Osmel Reyes
Released: RHP Sheng-Cin Hong, RHP Melkin Laureano, RHP Yomar Pacheco, RHP Dinesh Patel, 1B Chih-Wei Hsu, 1B Kyle Morgan, 3B Andury Acevedo, OF Erik Huber, OF Kyle Saukko
Among the released are Sheng-Cin Hong and Chih-Wei Hsu, a pair of Taiwanese prospects the Pirates signed on July 2.
St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: LHP Raul Valdes
Removed from 40-man roster: RHP Adam Ottavino, C Steve Hill, OF Daryl Jones, OF Nick Stavinoha
A 32-year-old Raul Valdes surprisingly made the Mets out of spring training and had his moments during an uneven big league debut. But he's probably not the typical Tony La Russa/Dave Duncan situational lefty candidate because same-sided batters hammered him for a .991 OPS over 94 plate appearances this season.
San Francisco Giants
Removed from 40-man roster: 1B Brett Pill
Signed: RHP Scott Patterson (re-signed), SS Luis Rodriguez, OF Mike Wilson (re-signed)
Luis Rodriguez connected for 39 percent of his career minor league home runs this season with Triple-A Charlotte, batting .293/.364/.493 with 16 bombs. He's seen big league time with the Twins and Padres as part of a 14-year career, but prior to this season, Rodriguez had hit a total of 25 homers in the minors.
Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: 3B Russ Canzler
A 24-year-old Russ Canzler hit .287/.372/.566 with 21 homers and 28 doubles for Double-A Tennessee (Cubs). He has no Triple-A experience yet, but that might change if he continues to hit this well.
Signed: OF Doug Deeds
Released: OF Nathan Haynes
Reinstated from inactive list: OF Nathan Haynes
Toronto Blue Jays
Released: C C.J. Ebarb, 1B Manny Rodriguez
Traded: RHP Danny Farquhar and RHP Trystan Magnuson to Athletics for OF Rajai Davis
Placed on restricted list: RHP Felix Moreno
Reinstated from inactive list: 1B Manny Rodriguez
Signed: SS Chris McConnell, OF Jeff Frazier
Left fielder/first baseman Jeff Frazier, older brother of Reds prospect Todd, led the Triple-A International League with 61 extra-base hits this season with Toledo. In a career year, he also made the IL all-star team and then made his big league debut for the Tigers at the end of July.
Shortstop Chris McConnell can really pick it, but he's not so accomplished at the plate, with career .251/.331/.351 averages in seven years in the Royals chain.