Rangers Minor League Free Agents

Now that the 2011 season has concluded, the Texas Rangers have 20 minor league players headed for free agency. Lone Star Dugout lists and discusses some of the names.

UPDATE (12/23): The following Rangers minor league free agents, who are listed below, have signed minor league contracts with other teams:

INF Andres Blanco (Nationals)
RHP Manny Corpas (Cubs)
INF Luis Cruz (Dodgers)
C Robinzon Diaz (Angels)
RHP Adalberto Flores (Astros)
INF Esteban German (Japan)
INF Nick Green (Marlins)
RHP Eric Hurley (Angels)
LHP Beau Jones (Marlins)

The Rangers have also re-signed a handful of minor league free agents––RHP Fabio Castillo, RHP Derek Hankins, LHP Zach Jackson, INF Matt Kata. Castillo was not initially a free agent, but he became one after the Rangers non-tendered him in order to remove him from the 40-man roster earlier in the month. All others are still free agents for the time being.

The baseball-wide list of minor league free agents was recently posted by Baseball America's Matt Eddy on his minor league transactions blog.

The Rangers have 20 free agents, including seven who have been with the organization for multiple seasons. All players with at least six full years of professional experience are eligible to file for free agency if they are not on a team's 40-man roster.

Triple-A: LHP Douglas Arguello, RHP Omar Beltre, SS Andres Blanco, C Kevin Cash, RHP Manny Corpas, SS Luis Cruz, C Robinzon Diaz, 3B Esteban German, SS Nick Green, RHP Derek Hankins, RHP Eric Hurley, LHP Zach Jackson, LHP Beau Jones, 2B/LF Matt Kata, 1B/LF Brad Nelson, RHP Merkin Valdez

Double-A: RHP Adalberto Flores, OF David Paisano

High-A: 2B/LF Travis Adair

As is most often the case, the majority of the free agents are 'hired guns' at the Triple-A level. These players are often signed each offseason before getting action in major league camp and serving as insurance for the major league team.

Omar Beltre, Andres Blanco, Esteban German, Eric Hurley, and Merkin Valdez were all members of the Rangers' 40-man roster until they were outrighted and cleared waivers earlier in the week. All five players opted to become free agents.

Some of the free agents will likely re-up with the Rangers later this offseason. Most will move on, and the club will fill part of its Triple-A roster by signing a handful of minor league free agents during the offseason.

  • Among the more intriguing names is left-hander Beau Jones, who the Rangers considered giving a late-season look in the majors to see if he warranted a 40-man roster spot. The 25-year-old lefty is the only piece of the Mark Teixeira trade return that is yet to play in the major leagues.

    Jones posted a solid season at Triple-A Round Rock, logging a 3.63 ERA in 39 appearances. In 62 innings, he gave up 59 hits while walking 26 and striking out 54. His velocity sat in the low-90s more often than it has in recent years, and he also mixed in a curveball, a slider, and a changeup.

  • Outfielder David Paisano was acquired along with Brandon McCarthy as part of the John Danks deal in December 2006. Although the 23-year-old is an excellent defender with good range and a strong arm, his bat hasn't come along. Paisano posted a .237/.271/.313 slash line between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco in 96 games this season. He is currently playing for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.

  • The Rangers signed Manny Corpas in April with the knowledge that he would miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September '10. The former Colorado closer spent the entire season rehabbing at the Rangers' minor league facility in Arizona. He's expected to be ready by next spring, and the club may bring him back on a minor league deal with an invitation to major league camp.

  • The 33-year-old German has played in at least 105 games for the Rangers' Triple-A club in each of the last three seasons, and he has also logged big league time in each of those campaigns. After hitting .301/.388/.411 with 44 steals at Round Rock this season––plus getting named to the Rangers' postseason rosters––he'll easily find work in 2012. Whether he returns to the Rangers for a fourth consecutive year remains to be seen.

  • Adalberto Flores, 25, has played the last four years in the Texas system, ranging from Single-A Clinton to Double-A Frisco. With the help of a low-90s fastball and a good changeup, the 6-foot-7 righty reliever posted a 3.32 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 81.1 innings with the RoughRiders in 2011. He is currently playing for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

  • Versatile farmhand Travis Adair struggled during his 33-game Double-A stint this season but was a key member of the Myrtle Beach lineup, hitting .305/.363/.412 in 71 games while making the transition from second base to left field. The son of former Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Rick Adair, Travis may return if the Rangers feel there's a spot for him to fill in 2012.

  • Omar Beltre and Eric Hurley have spent a combined 20 years in the Texas Rangers' organization. Beltre made his first minor league appearance in 2000 and Hurley was a first-round pick in '04. Beltre is looking to make a comeback from spinal surgery while Hurley returned from shoulder and multiple wrist surgeries this season.

    Both players are in various stages of the comeback trail, but they are assessing options after becoming free agents earlier this week.

    Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that the club is particularly interested in bringing Hurley back.

    "We're hopeful we can entice him to re-sign with us," Levine said to Sullivan. "We understand he wants to evaluate his options, including what he deems is a faster track to the big leagues. We understand he feels he is on the rebound from a few injuries and his singular goal is to get to the big leagues. We hope he gets that opportunity."

    Sullivan also wrote that the Rangers have expressed interest in re-signing both German and Andres Blanco.

  • Other minor league free agents with recent ties to the Rangers include––INF Joaquin Arias (Kansas City, AAA), LHP Mike Ballard (Baltimore, AA), 2B Joe Bonadonna (Florida, A), OF Jason Botts (NY Mets, AAA), RHP Dave Bush (Philadelphia, AAA), LHP Fabio Castro (Seattle, AAA), 3B Adam Fox (Washington, AA), 1B Ian Gac (Chicago White Sox, A+), 1B Mauro Gomez (Atlanta, AAA), 2B Tug Hulett (Washington, AAA), RHP John Lujan (NY Mets, AAA), RHP Chris Mobley (Cincinnati, AA), LHP Sam Narron (Milwaukee, AAA), C Max Ramirez (San Francisco, AAA), 2B Jose Vallejo (Houston, AAA).

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