In this edition of the Free Agent Fantasy team, we basically round out the entire teams using all minor league contracts. So here are the players I signed:
The Rockies signed Torrealba, who has been with them in the past. Despite his somewhat poor 2012, he has been a decent defender behind the plate with a little bit of pop in his bat. Considering that Bobby Wilson is my 3rd catcher, I could use a little bit of depth.
The hero at the end of the 2011 season, Johnson spent most of 2012 in AAA, where he bashed homers for the White Sox AAA affiliate. He did get a cup of coffee with the big league team and played pretty well in a small sample size. He has been a little inconsistent with the bat in the Majors, and doesn’t provide much as far as positional or athletic value, but he has hit in spurts, and my 1st baseman pool is pretty shallow and I could use some power.
Once a top prospect, the Indians finally released Neal after signing Nick Swisher. The Yankees then ironically was the team that signed him to a MiLB deal. With all this said, my odds system still really likes him and he plays good defense and runs reasonably well. I already have a deep outfield, but having another one couldn’t hurt.
Slowey has provided some value as a back of the rotation starter, with a 7.3 fWAR in 532.2 big league innings. However, the last two years have been really rough for Slowey, as he was up and down between AAA and the Majors in 2011, really struggling to miss bats and keep the ball in the park. In 2012, he was traded twice before the season started and made just 8 starts, all in AAA for Cleveland. He was medicore at best, and was injured the rest of the season. However, he is a guy who throws strikes (almost to a detriment), and had success earlier in his career. He would have much more value if he got ground-balls, and his fastball is well below average (and has been dropping over the past couple of years).
Originally acquired on waivers from the Giants, Downs provided some value as a non-shortstop utility player for almost 2 full seasons for the Astros. He doesn’t have much as far as tools (not a ton of power, no real defensive or athletic skills, his time as a utility player is more because he didn’t have a real position than the fact that he was really talented). However, he has hit a little bit in his time in the big leagues and should get some playing time on a Marlin squad that isn’t that very deep.
The sinker baller really struggled with the Cubs after the Carlos Zambrano trade from the Marlins. The Royals claimed him on waivers, but let him go without pitching for them as they bolstered their rotation depth in other ways. Surprisingly, he actually had a slight uptick in velocity in 2012, and he has about an average fastball/sinker. He has a wide array of pitches and gets a decent amount of ground-balls, but doesn’t miss very many bats at all. A move to the bullpen seems unlikely (or at least unhelpful) as he doesn’t have real platoon splits, so with Volstad you are just betting on a roughly replacement level starter who can throw a few innings at the big league level (but mainly hang around AAA). Coors Field, even with park adjustments, always seriously hurts pitcher’s value. Volstad’s high ground-ball rate will help him in that park, but the vast amount of batted balls will certainly hurt him.
I’ve thought McClellan was an interesting buy low candidate for the bullpen this off-season. Evidently the Rangers are going to give him a shot to make the teams as either as a starter or reliever, but I think the somewhat soft tossing right-hander will be more productive out of the bullpen and has the potential to provide some value at a low cost.
Once an elite defender, and perhaps the best defensive shortstop in the game, Izturis has predictably regressed defensively at least some. He has also been one of the worst hitters in baseball. However, my infield depth is really terrible, and I could always use another one.
Part of the disastrous (at least for the Red Sox) Andrew Bailey, Ryan Sweeney had a rough season in 2012. However, he has hit right-handed pitching pretty well throughout his career. He doesn’t have great tools (especially power wise), but he could be a useful reserve outfielder, especially Ryan Kalish is hurt yet again. Even though my outfield depth is pretty strong, I could always use another one.
This means I have just one more roster spot open as Spring Training starts within a couple of weeks. Here is what the team looks like so far, which you can view in spreadsheet format by following this link. Or you can just view the screenshots: