Yankees 2004 Minor League Free Agent Update
Out with the Old (Free Agents Departed as of 11/7/04):
Jayson Drobiak - The first baseman recently signed with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Drobiak fell out of favor this year as he finished the season in Tampa with a lowly .229 batting average. It was a season of reckoning for him to see if his monstrous 2003 season in Battle Creek was for real. The Yankees were not convinced in 2004 so they let him walk.
In with the New (Free Agents Signed as of 11/7/04):
Noah Hall - Hall is out of the Toronto Blue Jays organization and is the first of the new batch of Yankee minor league free agent signings. He could turn out to be a pretty good pick up as the 27 year outfielder figures to be an important factor on the Columbus roster in 2005. He has had an up and down career, last year being a down season, but he could bring a good bat to the lineup, nonetheless.
Re-Signed (Free Agents Re-Signed as of 11/7/04):
Todd Betts - Betts provided a solid first base option for Columbus this year and has been rewarded by being retained by the organization, Betts, a Canadian Olympian this year, makes for a good organization soldier for the Yankees.
Homer Bush - An old favorite, Homer Bush is back. He is perhaps the man who will make the biggest impact out of all these signees. This is mostly because he may have a good chance of making the big club in 2004 as a reserve infielder. He loves being a Yankee even though he probably could have gotten a better job elsewhere on the market.
Caonabo Cosme - Cosme had a red hot start in AAA Columbus this year but he hit a terrible tailspin in mid 2004. He was demoted to Trenton where he bounced back well. He has an outstanding glove at second base and his bat did show a lot of promise early in the season. Cosme will be back in AAA Columbus next season.
Geoff Goetz - A former high profile, New York Mets draftee has been retained by the Yankees. However, he is still yet to show very much so far in his minor league career. But, he still does have potential so the Yankees are going to stick with him for at least another season.
On the Market (Free Agents still On the Market as of 11/7/04):
Tim Adkins - A true journeyman, it doesn't appear likely that Tim Adkins is going to return to the Yankee organization. The 30 year old pitcher was less than spectacular this year and may end up being totally out of a job next season. But, as a lefty, he could hang around.
Andy Brown - You can basically say goodbye to Andy Brown at this point. He got almost zero playing time this season and it is about time to call this Yankee project, a failure. The Yankees once thought of him as a possible five tool player. He is a former 1st round selection by the Yankees, one they would like to rid themselves of as soon as possible.
Buddy Carlyle - Carlyle looked absolutely outstanding at some points during this season with Trenton and Columbus. But, there were other times where he looked flat out awful. Carlyle is a former highly touted Padres pitching prospect and could have a lot of suitors for possibly even making a big league club next year. He still has a lot of talent.
Jeff Deardorff - The New York Yankees picked up Deardorff before the 2004 season and he proved to be an excellent addition to the Columbus Clippers last season. He was a valuable power hitting outfielder all season but will probably not return to the organization. There will be many teams looking for his services and he could make an MLB squad out of spring training.
David Elder - Elder probably has no future with the Yankee organization at all. The former Cleveland Indian also has little chance of catching on anywhere else at the age of 29. However, he was a valuable piece of the Trenton bullpen in 2004.
Sal Fasano - If not for any other reason, Sal Fasano may be worth keeping around just to handle a young AAA pitching staff. Fasano is an excellent, veteran catcher and he worked wonders with the Clippers pitching staff in 2004. Fasano will have lots of job offers and he could probably get a backup catching job in the Major Leagues in 2005.
Omar Fuentes - We saw Omar Fuentes break in as a 17 year old way back in 1997 and that is the reason it seems like he should be far older than 24 years old. He has never done a lot of hitting in his minor league career but his defensive abilities are solid. The Yankees may retain the 24 year old backstop but there is also a good chance he could go elsewhere.
Mike Kelly - Kelly was a former number two overall selection way, way back in the 1991 amateur draft. He could never nail down an everyday job with the Braves, Devil Rays or the Rockies in his now, 11 professional seasons. It may be time for the 34 year old to hang up his spikes and it appears highly unlikely he will return to the Yankee organization.
Donzell McDonald - A fan favorite in Columbus, Donzell McDonald provided some late season spark with his speed late in the International League season in 2004. However, he will probably not be brought back in 2005.
Manuel Mejia - The 25 year old catcher had a strong showing in Tampa in 2004 with a .287 batting average in limited playing time. He might be someone the Yankees will look to hang onto for the 2005 season as a possible backup in AA Trenton.
Teuris Olivares - Olivares has had a rough go of it for the past two seasons in the Yankee organization. The 25 year old infielder will likely be looking for a new organization for the 2005 season.
Javier Ortiz - The Yankees still like his potential but the question is for how much longer. They have waited a long time now for the soon to be 25 year old pitcher to put it together. He was solid in AA Trenton but struggled in AAA Columbus. It is too early to tell if the Yankees will re-sign him. However, he is still fairly young so stay tuned.
Carlos Reyes - Reyes, a former big league pitcher is strongly considering retirement and even possibly a coaching career. It will be shocking to see him reappear on minor league roster next year, let alone in the Yankee organization. Retirement for him is likely.
John Rodriguez - A fan favorite, "J-Rod" seems to be a player that has a good chance to return to this organization if it were up to the Yankees. However, the Bronx native may seek an organization that will give him a shot to be a Major League outfielder, especially having one of his best seasons in his career in AAA Columbus in 2004. But, he won't get that chance with the Yankees.
David Shepard - Here is a guy that just isn't going to work in the Yankee organization. What else can you ask of a guy who made back-to-back all star appearances in the AA Eastern league All-Star game. The Yankees are beginning to let this 30 year old reliever rot in AA. He will almost certainly go elsewhere and get a AAA or possibly even an MLB shot.
Shane Spencer - You have to wonder why the Yankees picked up Shane Spencer in the first place. But, the fact is that the Yankees might be his only option. Not too many other organizations would be interested in the troublesome former Yankee outfield phenom. He could be a reserve outfielder in AAA Columbus next season.
Mike Vento - Here is perhaps the best Yankee prospect to make his way onto this list. This 26 year old outfielder has nothing else to prove in AAA and could be a Major League reserve outfielder in 2005, but not for the Yankees. If the Yankees have plans for him, they'll re-sign him but most signs point to him leaving for greener pastures.
Jake Weber - The Yankees picked Weber up before the 2004 season to fill an outfield hole with the Trenton Thunder. The Yankees are beginning to move away from there old approach and are going with younger prospects. Expect Weber to get a job in another organization.
Craig Wilson - Here is a guy just trying to hang on. It is highly unlikely he will be retained by the New York Yankees. It may also end his professional career also. Not too many organization are looking to take on a 35 year old minor leaguer.
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