It’s a fairly busy news day in the minor leagues with major league teams doing some reorganization of their rosters for some upcoming events on the major league calendar.
First of all, the Blue Jays went ahead and outrighted LHP Ricky Romero and C Mike Nickeas to the Buffalo Bisons. In Romero’s case, we knew this would happen. All it does is clears his spot from the 40-man roster. No one will pick up his contract because he’s owed another $15+ million dollars. Nickeas also gets cleared off the 40-man roster. The light-hitting catcher really wasn’t doing much for the Blue Jays in the final month except for serve as a third catcher just in case the Blue Jays had to use both J.P. Arencibia and Josh Thole.
In other news, minor leaguers have started to file for free agency. If they fall into a certain category of veterans they can file before October 15 as long as they’re not put onto a major league roster.
For the Blue Jays, five players have chosen minor league free agency.
3B Andy LaRoche, 30, signed in the off-season to a free agent contract, had a very solid season in Buffalo, hitting .271/.339/.433 with a dozen home runs. He was recalled to the Blue Jays on June 7, played one game (going 0-4) on June 9 and was sent outright back to Buffalo on June 13. LaRoche has significant major league experience with his best season being 2009 in which he played 150 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
RHP Tommy Hottovy, 32, had a pretty good year with the Blue Jays organization split between New Hampshire and Buffalo this year, throwing 43 innings with a 4.19 ERA and 42 strikeouts.
RHP Dave Bush, 33, was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft and came full circle this year. The circle wasn’t pretty though, as Bush gave up four home runs in his only major league appearance this season. In Buffalo, Bush was fairly good, throwing 90 innings with a 4.20 ERA and 69 strikeouts after being outrighted to Buffalo on April 9.
RHP Justin Germano, 31, was the workhorse for the Buffalo Bisons, leading the club in innings pitched (151) and strikeouts (103) while compiling a 4.47 ERA. Germano’s one major league appearance this year lasted two innings on May 1.
RHP Chien-Ming Wang, 33, had the most extensive major league resume of the group. He had an excellent Triple-A season split between the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders and the Buffalo Bisons. He threw 109 2/3 innings with a 2.87 ERA and 55 strikeouts in the International League this year. In two stints with the Blue Jays, Wang had a 7.67 ERA, 9 walks and 14 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Finally, three other players with Blue Jays connections filed for minor league free agency. The first was righty Edgar Gonzalez. Gonzalez had pretty awful numbers for the Astros after they picked him up off waivers when the Blue Jays designated him for assignment. He ended up getting outrighted to Double-A and will now look to catch on elsewhere. Catcher Guillermo Quiroz, who, at one time, was heralded as the Blue Jays “catcher of the future” elected free agency after getting into 43 games with the San Francisco Giants. He didn’t play much in Triple-A Fresno. Another catcher, Eli Whiteside, who was only a Blue Jay on paper for less than 24 hours this off-season, has elected free agency after putting up pretty atrocious numbers in Round Rock, the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate.
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013) and may not be used without permission.