Part Three of Adam Miller's series looks at Graham Koonce and Adam's analysis of what the A's might…
A's 2004 Minor League Free Agents
Bazzell had a terrific season for the Midland RockHounds as a sometimes starter, sometimes long reliever. He went 15-3 with an ERA just over 3 and a 1.18 WHIP. He was the most consistent pitcher for Midland all season. The A's will likely want to bring him back, but he will probably get some attention from other teams, as well.
Trevor Brown, C
Brown, who was in the Independent league in 2003, played for Kane County in 2004. He hit .287 with 4 HR for the Cougars.
Eric Cammack, RHP
The long-time minor league veteran spent the 2004 season with Sacramento as a reliever. He had an ERA over 5.00, however. He has jumped from organization to organization, so there is a good chance he'll be moving on again.
Ramon Castro, SS
Castro started the season in Sacramento and then had a cup of coffee with the A's mid-season when Eric Chavez went down with a broken hand. However, Castro was sent all the way down to AA after his stint in the big leagues and doesn't appear to be in the A's future infield plans. Castro is a good fielder but doesn't hit much.
Mike Edwards, 3B/OF
Edwards had another excellent year for the RiverCats in 2004. He hit .287 with 13 HR and 81 RBI. He also had a strong spring training, hitting .300 in the big league camp. Edwards split his 2004 season between the outfield and third base, so he brings some versatility to the table. The A's have always liked his bat, so they may try to re-sign him. If he does re-sign, he may compete with Matt Watson for a spot on the A's bench in 2005. He will be 28 in 2005.
Isaac Garcia, SS
Garcia has been with the A's organization since 1998, when he was playing with the A's Dominican league team. He hit .300 this season with Modesto, his third season with the club.
Esteban German, 2B
German was shuttled between Sacramento and Oakland for much of the season. He was given a great opportunity to grab a permanent roster spot with the A's when Mark Ellis and, later, Eric Chavez went down with injuries. He flashed a solid glove at third and second, but he did not impress with the bat. With Ellis expected to return and Marco Scutaro having earned a roster spot with his solid 2004 campaign, German may be looking at another season shuttling between Sacramento and Oakland if he chooses to return to the A's. With his speed and his past minor league record, he should get some attention from other teams.
Wayne Gomes, RHP
Gomes, the former Phillie, Red Sox, and Giant, had a decent season as a middle reliever for Sacramento. He compiled a 3.81 ERA in 51 appearances. However, his WHIP was high (1.60) and he only struck out 54 in 78 innings. He may be signed to a minor league contract for depth, but doesn't appear to be a great candidate to compete for a role in the A's 2005 bullpen.
Graham Koonce, 1B/DH
The 2003 PCL MVP is coming off of a somewhat disappointing season in Sacramento. He started the year off strong, but slumped in the second half and ended up hitting only .241 with 22 HR and 77 RBI. Koonce was passed on the A's first base depth chart by 2004 PCL MVP Dan Johnson, who is five years younger than Koonce. Koonce was also passed over at September call-up time, which is perhaps an indication that the A's no longer see him in their future plans. With Erubiel Durazo and Scott Hatteberg likely to return to Oakland and with Johnson likely to get the first crack at a back-up role next season, Koonce may choose to sign on with another team. Although he is almost 30, he has the potential to be an excellent part-time DH for a major league team, so look for him to get a decent amount of interest on the free agent market.
Brigmer Leon, RHP
Leon, another veteran of the A's Dominican program, had a good season out of the Kane County bullpen. He compiled an ERA under 3.00 in 46 appearances. Leon is only 23. He is competing in the Venezuela Winter League this off-season, where he may generate some interest from other clubs with a strong performance.
Billy McMillon, OF
McMillon was one of baseball's best pinch hitters in 2003. However, his 2004 campaign was marred by injuries and ineffectiveness. He signed a one-year/$900,000 major league contract last year, but isn't likely to be afforded a major league contract again this season. The A's have always liked McMillon's approach at the plate and his clubhouse presence, however, so he may return on a minor league contract and compete for a bench spot in the spring. He is likely to get some interest from other teams looking for left handed hitting depth on their benches.
Curtus Moak, LHP
Moak was picked up from the Independent league and had a 3.86 ERA in 19 appearances for Modesto in 2004.
Mike Oquist, RHP
A member of the A's pitching staff during the late 1990s, Oquist was signed by the A's to help fill out the Midland pitching staff. Unless the A's need more lower level depth, Oquist may either retire or sign elsewhere.
Adam Pettyjohn, LHP
Pettyjohn was traded from the Giants organization to the A's when Steve Woodard left Sacramento. He was pretty bad with both teams, but he's left handed, so he'll probably get a look from someone.
Jose Pineda, OF
Mike Rivera, C
A back-up catcher in Sacramento, Rivera isn't in the A's long-term plans at the catching position. However, he may be retained on a minor league contract for depth.
Mike Rose, C
Rose had an excellent season as the RiverCats' starting catcher and clubhouse leader. The former Houston Astros farmhand hit .281 with a .407 OBP in a season shortened slightly by an injured hand. Rose did get a September recall to Oakland, where he appeared in two games and was hitless in two at-bats. He would be a good candidate to compete for a spot on the A's as one of their two catchers next season, especially if Oakland doesn't re-sign Damian Miller. The A's have a lot of catching depth in the lower levels of their organization, but are thin at the top, so look for the A's to try to re-sign Rose.
Brian Sellier, OF
Sellier, a veteran of the Independent leagues, spent the 2004 season in Midland. He had hit .300 for the RockHounds in 2003, but hit only .279 with 4 HR in 2004. He probably isn't in the A's long-term plans in the outfield.
Bert Snow, RHP
Snow was, at one time, the A's best relief prospect. However, his last three seasons have been marred by injuries. At 27, he is old for AA and a health risk. He did pitch well in his 20 appearances for the RockHounds this season (0.99 WHIP). Snow is very talented when healthy, so the A's may try to sign him and give him one more season to get healthy.
Shawn Sonnier, RHP
Sonnier was with the Chicago Cubs organization in 2003 and was with the Royals' organization through 2001, where he got as far as AAA. He pitched well for Midland in a middle relief role in 2004, compiling a 2.95 ERA in 45 appearances. However, Sonnier will be 29 next season. He may re-sign with Oakland and pitch for Sacramento next season, but it is likely he'll look for opportunities elsewhere.
Jon Weber, OF
This Independent league veteran has done nothing but hit since joining the A's organization last season. He hit .281 with 15 HR for Midland in 2004 before being promoted to Sacramento. He then hit .341 in 19 games for the RiverCats. Weber is close to 30, but he could be a sleeper candidate for a fourth outfielder role with the A's in a year or so, if he chooses to re-sign with Oakland.
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