Montanez, Sing Opt for Free Agency

Outfielder and former first-round draft pick Luis Montanez and INF/OF Brandon Sing are the latest to opt for minor league free agency.

Montanez and Sing join Nic Jackson on the list of players that will test the minor league free agent market this year, Cubs Director of Player Development Oneri Fleita said Thursday.

Montanez was the third overall pick from the 2000 draft, but has struggled through most of his minor league career, which has spanned seven seasons in the Cubs' system.

Drafted as a shortstop out of high school in Miami, Fla., he converted to the outfield midway through 2004 and then posted modest results at the plate due to a self-described newfound lack of pressure on defense.

A little over a month into the 2006 season, Montanez earned his first career promotion to Triple-A after hitting .369 in 38 games at Double-A. But he still came up short of the 40-man roster and any September consideration.

Sing, who was eligible for six-year free agency a year ago but re-signed with the Cubs for 2006, is fresh off his worst season ever. He combined to hit below .200 between Iowa and West Tenn.

Beginning Sunday, teams may begin to sign players who opted for free agency the previous week. Jackson, Montanez and Sing could still re-sign with the Cubs.

Additional names that were tentatively eligible for six-year minor league free agency included Cliff Bartosh, Michael Restovich and Carlos Vasquez.

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