Between now and October 15, certain minor leaguers may opt to declare free agency. Players who have played in parts of seven minor league seasons are ones whose contracts will automatically expire although those that have been released from their original organization are also eligible.
An initial group of 43 players have declared free agency and there are a few recognizable names among them.
Chien-Ming Wang is reportedly looking for one more kick at the major league can. After a very good season spent mostly in the International League (with affiliates for the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays), Wang is hoping that his very poor showing in his six starts in the majors (with Toronto) can be written off as small-sample-size bad luck.
Righty P.J. Walters started 20 games for the Minnesota Twins over the past two years and hasn’t put up good numbers (ERA over 5.50 and WHIP over 1.50 in both years). Pitching for Rochester in the Triple-A International League, Walters went 7-5 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.51 WHIP but he’ll be looking to help out another organization next year.
Second baseman Brent Lillibridge made two stops this season. He performed very well for the Triple-A affiliates of the Yankees and the Chicago Cubs but wasn’t able to translate that performance (including a very solid .787 overall OPS) into similar success at the major league level.
Righty Jairo Asencio had a fantastic season in Triple-A Norfolk, saving 28 games with a 2.66 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP with 56 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings. He should get a look-see next year from a major league club despite getting rocked in only 2 1/3 innings with Baltimore.