Slow going for Phils minor league free agents

Scott Elarton

While most of the focus on free agency is at the major league level, there are still a number of Phillies minor leaguers who are looking for work as minor league free agents.

Please note: This article has been updated to reflect other signings that were not included in the original article.

Coming into the winter, there were 23 Phillies minor league players who had filed for free agency. Fast forward a couple months to the present day and you'll find that 14 of them are still unemployed.

Of the nine that signed, five - Andres Blanco, Tim Kennelly, Juan Morillo, Derrick Mitchell and John Suomi - have re-signed with the Phillies.

Suomi, 32, has endured 12 minor league seasons without so much as a September call-up to the majors. He joined the Phillies organization as a minor league free agent prior to the 2007 season and left as a minor league free agent following the 2008 season, only to re-sign with the Phillies after one season in the Royals organization.

This past year, Suomi played the entire season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he will likely be stationed again.

Mitchell missed most of last season with a broken bone in his hand and will likely be at Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start the year. Blanco and Morillo are both likely headed to the IronPigs, as well.

Probably the most interesting case is that of Tim Kennelly, who the Phillies started converting from an infielder to a pitcher last season. Where he'll start is going to be determined in spring training, but the Phillies are optimistic that he'll be able to make the conversion.

The four other minor league free agents who are now former Phillies, all signed minor league deals. Veteran pitchers Scott Elarton and David Purcey signed with Minnesota and the White Sox, respectively. Outfielder Jason Pridie signed with Baltimore, while another outfielder, D'Arby Myers signed with Oakland.

The 14 players who are still unsigned are:

Pitchers: Tom Cochran, Pat Misch, Jesus Morales, Drew Naylor and Matt Wright.

First Basemen: Jake Fox.

Second Basemen: Harold Garcia and Jake Opitz.

Third Basemen: Tug Hulett.

Shortstop: Miguel Abreu.

Outfielders: Kyle Hoppy, Kyle Hudson, Mike Spidale and Brandon Tripp.


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