TigsTown MLN: Minor League FA's Announced

The Tigers group of minor league free agents was announced. Who is on the list, and who will be a priority to bring back? Plus, a few players let go from the organization, and an opening in the Lakeland front office.

The list of minor league free agents was released late this week. Players can become minor league free agents either because their contract with the team ran out (as a number of minor league veterans operate on one and two year deals), or after six years of being with an organization, they become a minor league free agent if they're not on the team's 40 man roster.

Included on the list are pitchers Edwin Almonte, Mike Bumatay, Mike Bynum, Nate Cornejo, John Ennis, Andrew Good, Steve Green, Mark Johnson, Joey Watts and John Weis. The list also includes catchers Russ Cleveland, Brandon Harper, Maxim St. Pierre, and Sendy Martinez, infielders Gookie Dawkins, Juan Gonzalez, Mike Hessman and Juan Tejeda, and outfielders Kurt Airoso, Byron Gettis, Alexis Gomez, Victor Mendez and Derek Nicholson.

Juan Francia and Danilo Sanchez would have been free agents, but were already resigned by the Tigers.

Of that group, the most important to bring back is Juan Tejeda, the 23 year old first baseman who just finished up his second turn at AA Erie. TigsTown's Erie Player of the Year, Tejeda will never be the 30 home run threat that some desire from a first baseman, but battled through injuries to still post a .447 slugging percentage, and has been an RBI machine for the organization, averaging 89 runs driven in a year over the last four seasons.

Much of the rest of the group are minor league veterans that the Tigers will look to bring back should they feel they need the depth. Byron Gettis and Alexis Gomez are likely to be wanted back. The same goes for Nate Cornejo and Andrew Good, who still have the potential to get back to the big leagues. With the organization having a lack of catching prospects in the upper levels of the system, at least a couple of that group of catchers will likely return as well.

Those players aren't the only ones that are free to shop their services elsewhere. The Tigers also cut ties with a few more players, releasing them from the organization. That group included pitchers Rob Henkel, Dan Konecny, Kevin McDowell and Brandon Lyons and outfielder Vince Berry.

The most notable release of that group is obviously Henkel, who the Tigers likely felt would simply never fulfill his incredible potential. Henkel struggled in his promotion to Toledo, and at 27 years of age, is likely to the point where he's never going to be that middle of the rotation starter the Tigers thought they were getting when they acquired him in the Mark Redman trade with Florida.

Finally, the Tigers will be in the market for a new general manager in Lakeland, as current general manager Todd Pund is leaving the organization. But Pund isn't leaving for another team, but rather is leaving the baseball industry. Pund's replacement has not yet been named.


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