Familiar names on minor league free agent list

Familiar names on minor league free agent list
November 8, 2013, 9:00 am
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It’s free agent shopping season. In all shapes and sizes.

While all the attention has been justifiably paid to the major league free agents, there’s a larger subculture that the Orioles are busy scouring, too.

On Monday, 550 players declared for minor league free agency, more than three times the number who are major league free agents.

Most of the names may only be familiar to their family and dentist, but there are some names that will raise an eyebrow or two.

Adron Chambers played in three straight postseasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, but after striking out three times in four at-bats in the NLCS, he wasn’t on the World Series roster. Just after the Series ended, Chambers was outrighted, and is now a free agent.

Armando Galarraga of almost perfect game fame, hasn’t won a major league game since 2011. He tried out for the Orioles in spring training the next year, but didn’t make it. He’s on the list.

So is Rich Thompson. He’s the 34-year-old career minor leaguer who was fooled by Manny Machado’s deke in Sept. 2012.

A few former All-Stars are there, too. Evan Meek, who was Pittsburgh’s representative in 2010, and Jair Jurrjens, an All-Star in 2011 and briefly an Oriole in 2013. The Detroit Tigers didn’t bring Jurrjens back to the majors after he signed with them this summer. He’s free, too.

So is Dontrelle Willis, a onetime Rookie of the Year and All-Star, who had a tumultuous and forgettable experience in Norfolk in 2012.

The Orioles have 27 minor league free agents. Mark Hendrickson and Kyle Hudson are among them. Hudson scored the tying run in the game that knocked the Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs in 2011, but hasn’t played in the majors since.

From this list, the Orioles may choose six or eight players to invite to spring training. More may come from the list of players who aren’t tendered contracts by Dec. 2.

Some of the former Orioles on the list with their last team are: Jake Fox (Arizona), Brandon Snyder (Boston), Alex Burnett (Chicago Cubs), Jason Berken, Travis Ishikawa and Steve Tolleson (Chicago White Sox), J.C. Romero (Cleveland), Ronny Paulino (Detroit), Lou Montanez (L.A. Angels), Matt Angle (L.A. Dodgers), Joe Mahoney (Miami), Blake Davis (Milwaukee), Rhyne Hughes (New York Mets), Corey Patterson (New York Yankees), Pedro Viola (Oakland) and Adam Loewen (Toronto).

It’s not inconceivable that Tolleson, who provided some key hits in 2012, may be offered another chance to return on a minor league contract. He declined the Orioles’ offer last year, but has been favorably mentioned by manager Buck Showalter several times.