Ramiro Pena headlines crop of minor league free agents

Baseball America published their annual list of the offseason’s minor league free agents today, a collection of 549 total players. Here are the players the Yankees are losing to the open market…

RHP: Jason Bulger (AAA), Kelvin Castro (R), Manny Delcarmen (AAA), Grant Duff (AA), John Maine (AAA), Ronny Marte (HiA), Jon Meloan (AAA), Tim Norton (AAA), Ramon Ortiz (AAA), Kevin Whelan (AAA)
LHP: Lee Hyde (AA), Mike O’Connor (AAA), Josh Romanski (AA)
C: Jose Gil (AAA), Gustavo Molina (AAA), Craig Tatum (AAA)
3B: Kevin Russo (AAA)
SS: Doug Bernier (AAA), Walter Ibarra (AA), Ramiro Pena (AAA)
OF: Edwin Beard (SS), Cole Garner (AAA)

Pena, who has spent parts of the last four seasons in New York, headlines the crop of mostly older, veteran players. Losing the three Triple-A catchers is part of the reason why the Yankees claimed Eli Whiteside yesterday. Someone needs to sit on the bench and be the backup in Scranton. Whelan and Russo had very brief stints with the Yankees a few years ago, and Garner made some noise early in Spring Training this year. Duff and Norton have already transitioned to coaching within the organization.

The Yankees already re-signed four would-be minor league free agents to new minor league contracts a few weeks ago, most notably lefty Juan Cedeno and outfielder Abe Almonte. Andrew Brackman (Reds) is the most notable former Yankees farmhand cut lose by another team.

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Yanks sign Adam Miller, Cole Garner to minor league deals

Via Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed RHP Adam Miller and OF Cole Garner to minor league contracts. We heard that they were close to signing Miller way back during the Winter Meetings. The 27-year-old was the 31st overall pick back in 2003, but career-threatening ligament damage in his finger hampered his development. You can see the damaged finger on his Twitter page (it’s not gross). Even if it doesn’t work out, I’m still very interested to see him in Spring Training.

As for Garner, Baseball America ranked him as the 22nd best prospect in the Rockies’ system in last year’s Prospect Handbook. He put together a .392 wOBA for Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate last year, then picked up a pair of knocks in his first taste of the big leagues late in the season. The 27-year-old is a right-handed hitter and an extra outfielder type, just some depth.