Best Minor League Deals Of The Offseason

Garrett Jones, Kevin Correia, Juan Uribe, Scott PodsednikKiko Calero, Brian Sanches, Jonny Gomes, Ronald Belisario – all were signed to minor league deals and had productive 2009 seasons.  Candidates for the best minor league deals of the 2009-10 offseason:

  • D.J. Carrasco, Pirates: Carrasco led all of baseball in relief innings in 2009, so maybe teams think he's worn down.  He's capable of an ERA around 4.00, and could fill a swingman role.
  • Joaquin Benoit, Rays: Benoit had rotator cuff surgery in January of '09.  He'll be a big asset if his '07 skills return.
  • Kiko Calero, Mets: Despite whiffing 10.4 per nine in '09 with a 1.95 ERA, concerns over Calero's shoulder prevented a big league offer from coming in.
  • Shelley Duncan, Indians: Duncan hit 30 home runs in Triple A last year and could hit 20 for the Indians.  The Braves' Mitch Jones and Pirates' Brian Myrow, also signed to minor league deals, are cut from the same cloth.
  • Will Ohman, Orioles: Ohman had a lost 2009 due to a shoulder injury, but he dominated lefties in '08.  Also keep an eye on Brian Shouse, a lefty reliever signed by the Red Sox.
  • Endy Chavez, Rangers: The Rangers didn't risk much to see if Chavez's world-class defense will hold up after surgery to repair a torn ACL.
  • Rich Hill, Cardinals: Hill's walk problems have continued in Spring Training, but the prospect of another '07 makes him intriguing.  The Cards also snagged infielder Ruben Gotay, who posted a .429 OBP in Triple A.
  • Jose Veras, Marlins: Who would be surprised if Veras gives the Marlins 70 productive innings this year?  Jesus Colome (Mariners), Seth McClung (Marlins), and Erick Threets (White Sox) are other relievers signed on minor league deals who work in the 93-94 mph range.
  • Hank Blalock, Rays: He hit 25 home runs last year, and could be useful if he stays healthy.
  • Jose Arredondo, Reds: Arredondo is an investment for 2011, as he'll spend '10 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • More decent veteran arms inked to minor league deals: Scott Proctor (Braves), Rodrigo Lopez (Diamondbacks), Jeff Weaver (Dodgers), Guillermo Mota (Giants), Todd Wellemeyer (Giants), and Justin Speier (Rockies).

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23 Responses to Best Minor League Deals Of The Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. RichMahogany 5 years ago

    I would be pretty surprised if Veras gave the Marlins 70 quality innings. He’s a fine minor league signing, sure but his innings high is 57 and he gives out a lot of free passes.

    • howie_n 5 years ago

      Yeah… as a Yankees fan, I would be shocked if he gave the Marlins 70 quality innings. Seven, perhaps.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Never doubt a Marlins minor league signing.

  2. Ramon Ortiz might end up a better deal than Jeff Weaver for Dodgers; he’s looked very good so far (admittedly in Spring training; so, fwiw). And does Garrett Anderson count or is that not a minor league deal?

  3. RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

    I don’t think Mitch Jones will ever make it out of the Minors and into the Majors.He strikes out way too much and I can see why Tim didn’t put him on this list.

  4. RiverKKiller999 5 years ago

    Oops my bad yeah he is on the list.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Dodger fans wanted him on the squad last year. Hes 4A for life.

  5. $1574266 5 years ago

    You gotta like Benoit and Blalock for Tampa Bay. They are always good with minor league deals.

  6. Taskmaster75 5 years ago

    You can probably scratch Rich Hill, he’s gotten shelled in the spring. His curveball is utterly fantastic, but everything else can’t find the strike zone. If he fixes that, he can be damn good, and he’s got the best guy to fix it for him.

  7. Chris Shelton, Astros. Guy has been posting ridiculous AAA numbers the past few years and Berkman’s injury makes signing him look downright prescient.

  8. Guest 5 years ago

    This is a perfect thread. I think

    Kiko Calero
    Joaquin Benoit
    Will Ohman
    Jose Veras
    Rich Hill

    wil end up paying off. All 5 look really good this spring.

    I would add

    Cedric Bowers
    Marcus McBeth
    Joey Gathright
    Clay Hensley
    Enrique Gonzalez
    Francisco Rosario
    Josh Rupe
    Angel Sanchez
    Gary Majewski
    Josh Barfield (met Jesse over the weekend. Great guy. Great family.)
    Jim Edmonds
    Tony Pena Jr.

    will also benefit their respective teams. At least sometime during the season we should see Bowers.

    • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

      What are you talking about? Rich Hill looks terrible this spring.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        Statistically he does but he is at least healthy.

        • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

          Yea, see “healthy” doesn’t qualify as looking really really good. Otherwise, I’d put together a damn nice spring training.

          • Guest 5 years ago

            Come on man, you know what I mean. Rich Hill has one of Baseball’s best Curveballs. When he’s healthy, he has high upside.

          • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

            He has one plus pitch, I don’t think he should be on this list.

  9. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    There’s one guy that’s partially on the list who shouldn’t be. Shouse is about to flunk out with the BoSox. Both he and Dustin Richardson have been so marginal in camp that we called in a washed up Alan Embree to come compete for the left-hand specialist role.

    • Gomes isn’t on the list.

      • Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

        Yeah, Tim, I caught that after the fact of starting to post. The inference that the first sentence applied to the 2008-2009 signing season was somewhat camouflaged. I caught it and amended my post just before you replied. Sorry for the confusion and any inconvenience.

  10. basemonkey 5 years ago

    The only reason Rich Hill is mentioned here is because he was a former Cubs prospect. He hasn’t shown one iota of performance that might suggest a repeat of ’07. His walks and control were terrible last year. His Spring has been more of the same. Technically he is coming off a significant shoulder injury, so throw that into the mix of concerns around him too.

    There’s a better list of high potential guys than Hill at this point, guys who you at least don’t have to worry about health.

    • Alright, rattle off the guys signed to minor league deals who are better high potential guys than Hill.

  11. What about Hasinori Takahashi? His control over 4 different pitches is beyond impressive w/ the ability to throw countless strikes. He’s probably the most consistent pitcher in terms of having the best control on the team behind Santana. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t make the team out of spring.

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