With the end of the World Series comes the official beginning of the baseball off-season and with it…
Tracking A's 2007 MiLB Free Agents
J.D. Closser: Closser was acquired by Oakland from Milwaukee in May for outfielder Charles Thomas. The switch-hitting catcher played in 81 games for Triple-A Sacramento, batting .238 with 13 homeruns. He was one of the veteran leaders on the squad that won the PCL and Triple-A title. Closser has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs for the 2008 season.
J.J. Furmaniak: Furmaniak signed with Oakland last off-season as a minor league free agent. He was productive for Triple-A Sacramento. In 106 games, he hit .292 with 15 homers and 21 stolen bases. Furmaniak was valuable in the field, playing all over the infield and a little in the outfield. He spent nearly two months with the A's as a bench player, although his playing time was very limited. He had three hits in 17 at-bats and he scored five runs. Furmaniak has decided to head to the Far East for the 2008 season. He has signed a one-year contract with the Yokohama Bay Bears in Japan for $500,000.
Kaz Tadano: Tadano was acquired from Cleveland for outfielder Ramon Alvarado at the start of the 2006 season. The A's hoped he would challenge for a spot on the major league pitching staff from Triple-A in 2006, but a knee injury got Tadano off to a terrible start. He was dropped from the A's 40-man roster midway through the 2006 and cleared waivers. After a stint on the DL to rest the knee, Tadano pitched much better for Sacramento during the second half of the 2006 season. He received a non-roster invitation to major league spring training in 2007 and was assigned to Double-A Midland to start the year. Tadano made seven starts for the Rockhounds, posting a 4.14 ERA and striking out 49 while walking only nine in 41.1 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento in May, where he would stay the rest of the season. Tadano served as a swingman for the River Cats, posting a 5.20 ERA in 22 appearances (12 starts). He also pitched well as a starter for Sacramento in the playoffs. Tadano will be returning home to his native Japan for the 2008 season. He was selected in the most recent Japanese Professional League draft by the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Vince Faison: Faison, a former first round pick of the San Diego Padres, was signed to a minor league free agent deal by the A's last off-season. He received a non-roster invitation to major league camp and was assigned to Double-A Midland to start the season. Faison spent the entire season with the Rockhounds, playing mostly in centerfield. He hit .227 in 348 at-bats with five homers and 11 stolen bases. Before signing with San Diego out of high school, Faison was a high school football star. He had a scholarship to play for the Georgia Bulldogs back in 1999. After nine seasons in minor league baseball, Faison has decided to return to college and to the gridiron. He is planning to attend the University of Tennessee and join the football team. Faison is expected to play in the secondary.
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