Gomez, Axford, and d’Arnaud Headline the List of Pirates 2014 Minor League Free Agents

Baseball America has released their list of minor league free agents today, with the Pittsburgh Pirates having the following players who declared free agency:

RHP: John Axford (AAA), Jake Brigham (AAA), Emmanuel De Leon (AA), Jeanmar Gomez (AAA), Kenn Kasparek (AA), Josh Kinney (AAA), Kyle McPherson (AAA), Quinton Miller (AA), Wirfin Obispo (AAA), Josh Wall (AAA)

LHP: Rafael Perez (AAA), Jhonathan Ramos (AA), Adam Wilk (AAA)

C: Nevin Ashley (AAA), Francisco Diaz (Lo A), Ralph Henriquez (AA), Carlos Paulino (AA), Rudy Pena (AAA), Miguel Perez (Lo A), Omir Santos (AAA)

2B: Chase d’Arnaud (AAA), Blake Davis (AAA), Tommy Field (AAA)

3B: Jarek Cunningham (AA)

SS: Robert Andino (AAA), Dean Anna (AAA), Greg Picart (Hi A)

OF: Miles Durham (AA), Austin McClune (Hi A), Anthony Norman (AA), Andy Vasquez (AA)

There aren’t many surprises on the list. Axford, Gomez, and d’Arnaud were all outrighted off the 40-man roster recently, and it was expected that they would become free agents.

A lot of the 2014 waiver claims are on this list, such as Wirfin Obispo, Josh Wall, Tommy Field, and Dean Anna. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates try to bring back one of the two middle infielders on a minor league deal.

One notable name on the list is Quinton Miller. He was the first over-slot prep pitcher for the Pirates, signing for $900,000 as a 20th round pick in 2008. Miller struggled as a starting pitcher, then put up better numbers in relief the last two seasons, but not enough to make him a valid relief pitching prospect.

Jarek Cunningham is another notable name from the list. He was also an over-slot 2008 pick, signing for $150,000 as an 18th round pick out of high school. Cunningham has shown a lot of power from second base, hitting 19 homers in 2013. However, his strikeouts were out of control, and power was about the only thing that went well in his game.

The link to the BA list gives all of the names for the other teams, where there are plenty of former Pirates, such as Brad Lincoln, Matt Capps, and Tim Alderson.

UPDATE: Wilbur raised a question about Matt Nevarez that I was also wondering, and that is whether he would be a minor league free agent. The Pirates signed him out of indy ball in August, and based on his service time in the minors, he would have normally been a free agent at the end of the year. Obviously that’s not the case, since he’s not on the list. I just confirmed with Larry Broadway that Nevarez was signed to a deal that included the 2015 season. He’s a hard thrower who has hit 100 MPH, so having him around for another year is a good thing, especially after what happened with John Holdzkom.