Ziegler will be back for a fifth season.
The deadline for signing players eligible to be minor league free agents has passed. The Oakland A's reached agreements with three of their potential minor league free agents, meaning that they are back with the organization under minor league contracts. We have the details on the three players re-signed inside...
In past seasons, the minor league free agency period began on October 15th. In 2007, however, the minor league free agency period was moved back to coincide with the end of the World Series.
In other words, as of Monday, those minor leaguers eligible for free agency could declare themselves free agents. Up until that point, teams had the opportunity to negotiate contracts with their potential minor league free agents.
According to Oakland A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, the A's came to terms with three of their potential free agents before the end of the World Series. The A's can still negotiate with their remaining minor league free agents; however, they will have to compete with the rest of the league for their services.
The three players the A's re-signed to minor league contracts are all pitchers: Brad Ziegler, Nick Walters and Danny Borrell.
Ziegler returns to the A's after signing a minor league free agent contract for the fourth consecutive off-season. Ziegler first joined the A's organization in 2004 when he was signed from the Independent Northern League. After going 9-2 with a 3.90 ERA and helping High-A Modesto win the 2004 California League championship, Ziegler was re-signed by Oakland for the 2005 season. He pitched for High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland in 2005, winning 11 games and helping the Rockhounds win the 2005 Texas League championship. Ziegler was re-signed by the A's once again for the 2006 season, and he had another successful season, going 9-6 with a 3.43 ERA for Double-A Midland and pitching in four games at the Triple-A level.
Up until the 2007 season, Ziegler had pitched almost exclusively as a starting pitcher. However, when he re-signed with Oakland before the 2007 season, it was with the understanding that he would drop his arm angle and become a submarine reliever. Ziegler made a smooth transition to his new role in 2007, winning 12 games between Double-A and Triple-A and helping the Sacramento River Cats win the 2007 PCL and Triple-A championships. Ziegler is a strong candidate to be invited to major league spring training in 2008 and he could compete for a role in the A's bullpen next season.
Walters was brought into the A's organization this season after he was cut by the Chicago White Sox. The left-hander began his time with the A's in short-season Vancouver, where he was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 5.2 innings. He spent the rest of the season (minus a three inning stint in High-A Stockton) with Low-A Kane County, where he was part of a strong second half Cougars' bullpen. Walters went 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 25.1 innings for the Cougars. He struck out 23 and walked only four. Walters turned 22 years old on September 30.
Borrell was signed to a minor league free agent contract in late May. He had spent his entire minor league career with the New York Yankees. The 28 year old left-hander pitched in 19 games for Double-A Midland, going 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA. He struck out 73 in 64.1 innings. Borrell has overcome Tommy John and shoulder surgery during his eight-year minor league career.