2012 Oakland A's Minor League Free Agents

The minor league free agency period is upon us. The Oakland A's have already re-signed five of their minor league free agents, but there are 14 who are set to test the free agency waters.

The A's signed five of their six-year minor league free agents before the start of the free agency period. All five were pitchers: Pedro Vidal, David Mota, Jonathan Joseph, Julio Ramos and Gary Daley, Jr. Daley, Jr. is currently pitching for the A's in the Arizona Fall League.

Vidal was a standout for the Stockton Ports this season, posting a 3.43 ERA with a 37:7 K:BB ratio in 39.1 innings. Cal League batters hit only .196 against him. He was an international amateur free agent signing of the A's in 2006.

Mota made his full-season affiliate debut this year with Low-A Burlington. He posted a 3.47 ERA with a 32:21 K:BB ratio in 36.1 innings for the Bees. Mota was an international amateur free agent signing of the A's in 2006. The hard-thrower's progress was stalled early in his career by an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery and a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Joseph has been with the organization since signing out of the Dominican Republic in June 2006. The right-hander spent most of his 2012 season in the Burlington bullpen, where he picked up 12 saves and posted a 4.35 ERA with 73 strike-outs in 82.2 innings. He got a brief taste of High-A ball at the end of the year. It was his first time at that level and he allowed 12 runs in 11 innings.

Ramos was a rising star in the A's organization before injuring his elbow during the spring of 2010. He missed all of the 2010 and 2011 seasons and had Tommy John surgery midway through the 2010 campaign. Ramos threw 30 innings in 2012 before being sidelined again for the final three weeks of the season. When healthy, he was dominant for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters and the Low-A Burlington Bees. The southpaw allowed four earned runs in 30.2 innings, striking out 24 and walking only three.

Daley, Jr. split his 2012 season between the Midland Rockhounds' rotation and bullpen. The right-hander, who was a third-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, had a 5.11 ERA in 118 innings for Midland. He struck-out 79 and walked 71. Daley, Jr. has been serving as a reliever for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League. He has allowed two runs in five innings with seven strike-outs and four walks thus far.

Below are the remaining A's minor league free agents.

Oakland A's 2012-13 Minor League Free Agents

Fabio Castro: Castro has had a long and winding career that has included stints in the big leagues and in eight different organizations. The left-hander was a non-roster invitee to major league camp, but he spent the entire regular season in the minor leagues. The southpaw struggled during stints both with the Sacramento River Cats and the Midland Rockhounds. A starter for most of the season, Castro posted a 5.60 ERA in 125.1 innings. He struck-out 100 and walked 68. Castro is currently pitching for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League.

Leonardo Gil: Gil has spent seven seasons in the A's organization. Originally signed as an international amateur free agent in January 2006 out of Venezuela, the infielder has made a slow climb through the A's chain. He made his full-season affiliate debut in 2009 with Low-A Kane County and had his best season as a pro with the Cougars in 2010, when he hit a career-high 13 homeruns. Gil spent all of the 2011 season with the Stockton Ports and most of the 2012 campaign with the Midland Rockhounds. He hit .280 for the Rockhounds in 2012, but posted only a 690 OPS in 211 at-bats. Gil is primarily a third baseman.

Jose Guzman: Guzman has been a part of the A's organization since he signed as an international amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in February 2005. The right-hander moved slowly through the organization, but he often posted solid numbers along the way. In 2012, he spent most of the season with Double-A Midland, posting a 4.50 ERA in 54 innings. He also had a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings for High-A Stockton. Guzman has often served as a late-inning reliever, although he wasn't a closer this past season. In 2011, he saved 20 games for Stockton and he saved 18 games for Kane County in 2010.

Jason Jaramillo: The A's signed Jaramillo to a minor league free agent contract late in the 2012 season after they thinned their Triple-A catching ranks by trading Anthony Recker and promoting Derek Norris and Josh Donaldson. Jaramillo appeared in 11 games for the River Cats, batting .231/.318/.282 in 39 at-bats. Before joining the A's, Jaramillo had been in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization, splitting his season between the Brewers' Double-A and Triple-A clubs. A strong defensive catcher, Jaramillo has more than 100 games of major league experience in his career, which has spanned the Phillies, Pirates, Brewers and A's chains.

Beau Jones: Jones was the Atlanta Braves' first-round pick in 2005 and was later one of the prospects sent by the Braves to the Texas Rangers in the infamous Mark Teixeira trade in 2007. Jones signed with the Miami Marlins as a minor league free agent before last season, but he struggled with the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate. After posting a 7.54 ERA in 22.1 innings for the New Orleans Zephyrs, he was let-go by Miami and then signed by the A's. The left-hander found more success with Double-A Midland. In 23.1 innings, he posted a 3.86 ERA and held opposing batters to a .202 average.

Kila Ka'aihue: Ka'aihue was acquired by the A's at the end of the 2011 season from Kansas City and he won a job on the A's Opening Day roster coming out of spring training. Ka'aihue had considerable playing time with the A's early in the season, but he was designated for assignment on June 6. His demotion cleared the way for Brandon Moss to join the A's line-up. Ka'aihue cleared waivers and remained part of the A's organization for the rest of the year. He put together a solid campaign with the River Cats, batting .256/.367/.496 with 15 homers in 254 at-bats. Ka'aihue has always hit well at the Triple-A level and he will likely be one of the more popular minor league free agents on the market.

Blake Lalli: Lalli was acquired by the A's in a swap of Triple-A catchers late in the 2012 season, as he was traded from the Cubs for Recker. Lalli was a feel-good story for the Cubs earlier in the season when he reached the major leagues after six-plus years in the minor leagues, a journey that began with Lalli signing as a non-drafted free agent. Lalli posted solid offensive numbers from 2008-2011 before slumping in 2012. He had a 687 OPS overall in 2012 and had two hits in 15 at-bats for the River Cats.

Matt McSwain: McSwain joined the A's midseason as a minor league free agent from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. The right-hander appeared in 11 games (making two starts) for the Midland Rockhounds. He struggled during his time with Midland, posting an 11.15 ERA and a 7:9 K:BB ratio. Before joining the A's, McSwain put up a 4.88 ERA in 55.1 innings in the Pirates chain. He was a non-drafted free agent signing in 2006 by the Pirates and had spent his entire career in their chain before this season.

Jonathan Ortiz: Ortiz was a Texas League All-Star for the Midland Rockhounds this season and he served the team's closer for much of the year. The right-hander saved 15 games and had a 3.75 ERA in 62.1 innings. He struck-out 50 and walked 18. A longtime Yankees' farmhand, Ortiz was in his second season in the A's organization. He is currently pitching in the Dominican Winter League for the Tigres del Licey.

Matt Rizzotti: The A's inked Rizzotti to a minor league free agent contract during the season after he was let go by the Minnesota Twins. He found a lot of success with the A's at the Double-A level, batting .307/.350/.507 in 40 games with the Midland Rockhounds. Rizzotti hit 24 homers and posted a 903 OPS for the Phillies' Double-A squad in 2011. He will turn 27 in December.

Justin Souza: Souza, a Stockton native, was acquired by the A's from the Seattle Mariners organization in 2009 for third baseman Jack Hannahan. Souza was on the A's 40-man roster spot for a time, but lost that spot thanks in part to a serious arm injury that required surgery. Souza has been relatively healthy the past two seasons, eclipsing the 60-inning mark in each of those years. In 2012, he spent most of the year with Triple-A Sacramento, but did spent a short stretch with his hometown team, the Ports. In total, Souza posted a 6.42 ERA in 67.1 innings. Souza has good stuff, but he struggled to miss bats in Triple-A this year and allowed 12 homeruns in 57.2 innings. Souza turned 27 on Monday.

Rich Thompson: Thompson was claimed off waivers by the A's from the Angels organization early this season. He spent a week with the A's before being sent down to Triple-A. He eventually lost his spot on the A's 40-man roster but stayed with the organization for the rest of the season. The veteran right-hander posted a 3.34 ERA in 62 innings for the River Cats. He had a 58:23 K:BB ratio and held opposing batters to a .206 average. The native of Australia had spent his entire career in the Angels' organization before this season.

Wes Timmons: Timmons, a minor league free agent signing of the A's before the 2011 season, re-signed with Oakland for the 2012 campaign. He had a strong spring training and found himself part of the A's expanded roster for their trip to Japan to start the season. The Japan trip was as close to the big leagues as Timmons would get in 2012, however, as injuries limited him throughout the year. He finished the season with a .228/.344/.309 line in 149 at-bats. Those numbers were way down from his .341/.420/.468 line in 2011. Timmons turned 34 during the season and has been playing professionally since 2002.

Merkin Valdez: Valdez was signed by the A's as a minor league free agent before the 2012 season. The former Giants' top prospect missed nearly half of the season with an injury, but he was fairly effective when he was healthy. In 36 innings for the River Cats, the veteran right-hander had a 3.75 ERA and a 26:17 K:BB ratio. He saved five games and held opposing betters to a .236 average. Valdez is currently pitching for the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League.

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