My last post looked at the minor league pitching free agents from the Indians farm system; now I’ll take a look at the position players mentioned in this article.
Cleveland Indians (12)
RHP: Joe Martinez (AAA), Adam Miller (AA), Jason Rice (AAA)
LHP: Jeremy Sowers (AA)
C: Juan Apodaca (AA), Michel Hernandez (AA), Raul Padron (AA), Paul Phillips (AAA)
1B: Nick Johnson (AAA)
2B: Cristo Arnal (AAA), Argenis Reyes (AAA)
OF: John Drennen (AA) (not mentioned – Travis Buck)
Juan Apodaca – The 25-year-old catcher/DH was acquired from the Boston Red Sox along with Argenis Reyes and cash in August of 2010. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed him as a free agent in 2003, and he was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds in 2007’s Rule V draft. Boston acquired him from the Reds for cash. In 2011 with the Akron Aeros, Apodaca hit .184/.283/.218. The Indians have a number of other catchers in the system; there’s probably no reason to resign Apodaca when his numbers have been in a steady decline over the past few years.
Michael Hernandez – Hernandez defected from Cuba in 1996 and signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 1998. The 33-year-old made his Major League debut with the Yankees in 2003, and after that bounced around to a number of different teams. In a partial season with Akron in 2011, Hernandez was .323/.448/.434; his career numbers in the minors are .273/.384/.381. I was going to recommend that the Indians attempt to resign him for some catching depth at the minor league level; last week they announced they signed him to a minor league deal. He’ll be a non-roster invite to spring training in 2012.
Raul Padron – Originally signed by the Oakland Athletics as a non-drafted free agent in 2002, the 27-year-old hit .225/.284/.340. Those numbers are pretty consistent with Padron’s career numbers, so at least you know what to expect if you were to resign him.
Paul Phillips – Originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 9th round of the 1998 draft, Phillips came to the Indians organization as a free agent prior to last season. The 34-year-old hit .237/.281/.305 in 2011 with Columbus and provided a veteran presence to the team as they made their title run.
Nick Johnson – At one point in time, Nick Johnson appeared to have quite a bit of promise with the New York Yankees, and later the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, injuries really sidetracked his career and he signed a minor league free agent deal with the Indians prior to the 2011 season. It was a nice idea at the time; if he could prove he was healthy throughout the season, perhaps he could provide some depth at first base/DH. The 33-year-old hit .201/.326/.328 this past year. I’m not sure if the Indians want to take a chance on Johnson’s health and production in 2012, but another minor league deal probably wouldn’t be harmful.
Cristo Arnal – The only Major League team that Arnal has been with is the Cleveland Indians; he’s been at various levels of their system since 2005. In 2011 he hit .187/.244/.209, although his career numbers are slightly better – .230/.295/.272.
Argenis Reyes – Originally he signed with the Cleveland Indians as a non-drafted free agent in 2001, but bounced around between organizations between then and now. The 29-year-old second baseman hit .313/.345/.446, which was one of the better seasons of his career.
John Drennen – The Indians selected Drennen 33rd overall in the 2005 draft (first round supplemental). In 2011 he hit .240/.349/.392, which was below his career average of .264/.342/.400. The 25-year-old has been with Akron since part way through the 2009 season; he’s never moved beyond Double-A. A mid-season All-Star in 2006 and 2010, Drennen could still be of value in the minors. The way the Indians go through outfielders, he could at least provide some depth at the minor league level.
Travis Buck – The Indians signed him prior to the 2011 season; he was with Oakland before that point. He was shuttled between Triple-A and the Major League club, but he never really caught fire with the Indians this season. He’s already agreed to a minor league deal with the Houston Astros for next season.