Spring Profile: A's Minor League Free Agents

Now that spring training is all but over, Oakland A's fans have grown familiar with the minor-league free agents that the A's brought to major league camp. However, A's fans may not yet know much about Oakland's other minor league free agent signings -- the ones who have been working out in minor league camp. We profile those seven minor league free agents inside…

Todd Donovan: Donovan signed a minor-league free agent deal with the A's on November 15, 2007. The outfielder is a longtime minor league veteran. He began his career in 1999 in the San Diego Padres organization. He was selected in the eighth round of that year's draft out of Siena College. Donovan spent six years in the Padres chain before joining the Dodgers in 2005. He then spent the 2006 season split between the Baltimore and Cleveland chains. In 2007, he signed with the Texas Rangers, but missed most of the season with injuries. Donovan is a career .267 hitter in 647 games. The right-handed hitter has very good speed and has swiped at least 18 bases in every year of his career except last season when he was hurt. He stole 65 bases in 2005 and he has 272 career stolen bases.

Justin Dowdy: Dowdy was signed to a minor-league free agent contract on September 17, 2007, and he was invited to the A's Instructional League. The left-hander has spent the past two years pitching in the independent United and Northern Leagues. He began his career in 2001 with the Chicago White Sox after being selected out of high school in the 18th round. Dowdy was released by the White Sox in 2003, and he signed later that season with the Seattle Mariners after spending the first part of the season with Rockford of the independent Frontier League. He was released by Seattle at the end of that season and after spending the first part of the 2004 season with Rockford once again, Dowdy was signed by the Angels. He would spend the second half of the 2004 season and all of the 2005 season in the Angels chain before returning to the independent leagues in 2006 and 2007. In seven seasons (including those in the independent leagues), Dowdy has a career 3.52 ERA in 422 innings. He hasn't appeared above A-ball in affiliated baseball. He will turn 25 in mid-August. Dowdy threw three shut-out innings as an injury replacement in the Arizona Fall League this past October.

Chris Farley: Farley signed with the A's as a minor-league free agent on November 29, 2007. The tall right-hander was originally selected in the 14th round of the 2001 draft by the Boston Red Sox out of a Massachusetts high school. He was in the Boston chain until 2005, when he split the season between the Cardinals chain and North Shore of the Can-Am independent league. Farley spent all of the 2006 and part of the 2007 seasons with North Shore before signing with the Yankees in 2007. He appeared in one game in Double-A last season, his first at that level. Farley, who turned 25 in February, has a 4.17 ERA in 354 career professional innings.

Archie Gilbert: Like Donovan, Gilbert will be bringing an influx of speed into the A's organization. The Hayward native and Cal State-East Bay alum signed with the A's as a minor-league free agent on December 14, 2007. Gilbert began his minor league career in 2005 when he signed with the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent. He was released by the Red Sox after that season and he has spent the past two seasons in the White Sox chain. The right-handed hitting outfielder has stolen 35 bases and has had an OPS greater than 800 in each of the past two seasons, which he played at the Rookie and Low-A levels. He will be 25 in July.

Jesus Guzman: Guzman signed with the A's as a minor-league free agent on November 16, 2007. The Venezuelan native had spent his entire career in the Seattle chain. He was once regarded as one of the Mariners' top infield prospects after he posted an 836 OPS as a 20-year-old at High-A in 2004. Guzman struggled for two seasons at Double-A in 2005 and 2006, however, and the Mariners sent Guzman back to High-A in 2007. He had a big year for High Desert last season, hitting .301 with 25 homers, 112 RBI and a 909 OPS. Guzman is a switch-hitter and he won't turn 24 until mid-June.

Jesus Silva: Silva is also a Venezuelan native. He signed with the A's on December 11, 2007. The right-handed pitcher spent six seasons in the Arizona chain before signing with Florida in 2007. In seven minor league seasons, Silva has a 4.60 ERA in 524.1 career innings. Silva has worked as both a starter and a reliever during his career. He has appeared in five games at the Triple-A level in his career, and he will be 25 throughout the season.

Scott Tyler: Tyler was originally a second-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2001 out of a Pennsylvania high school. He signed with the A's on December 12, 2007. Tyler was in the Twins chain through the 2005 season, reaching as high as High-A with Minnesota. He was one of two pitchers that the Twins sent to Florida for Luis Castillo before the 2006 season. Tyler spent two seasons in the Marlins chain, playing most of those two years in Double-A. He appeared in the Arizona Fall League in 2006, posting a 7.59 ERA in 10 appearances. The right-hander has a career 4.16 ERA in 509 innings.

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