The Bucs have sent a lot of guys packing over the past few seasons. Here's what some of them are up to:
-- Ed Price of AOL Fan House tweeted that long-ago Bucco Jason Kendall got his Brewer pink slip because he wanted $5M to come back. Kinda pricey for a guy who hit .241/2/43 in 2009.
-- Kendall's running mate, Brian Giles, is a free agent, too. He hit .191/2/23 last season, will turn 39 in January, and earned $9M in 2009. Wonder how much of a market there will be for him?
-- Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweeted that the Diamond Backs inked reliever TJ Beam to a minor league deal with an invite to camp. He was 8-4 for Toronto's AAA Las Vegas club in 2009 after going 2-2-1 with a 4.14 ERA for the Pirates in 2008.
-- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports that the KC Royals signed 25 year-old catcher Steve Lerud, who was removed from the Buc's 40-man roster last month. His line at Altoona last season was .240/4/26.
-- Jay Bay turned down a deal believed to be worth $60M over four years from the Red Sox to dive into the free agent pond. He's looking, we hear, for 5 years and $80M. His bat has been awesome, though there are still questions about him hitting away from Fenway's Green Monster (and awesome lineup) and that dang glove.
-- Mike Gonzalez is now represented by Scott Boras in his free agent year. Gonzo, 31, posted a 2.42 ERA in 80 relief appearances last season, with a 5-4-10 slate. The Braves offered him arbitration, which is expected to net him $5-6M in 2010; he may turn it down.
-- Adam LaRoche ended up with the Braves, too. He wasn't offered arbitration, but Atlanta is still supposed to have interest in bringing him back in a less costly deal than the probable $8M he would have earned in front of a judge. LaRoche hit .325 with 12 homers and a .957 OPS in the 57 games he played for the Braves.
-- John Van Benschoten is a minor league free agent after pitching in the White Sox organization last year. Brad "Big Country" Eldred is in the same boat after playing in the Washington system (as is Daryle Ward). Ditto for JR House, who caught in the Royals minors. Bryan Bullington recently signed a minor league contract with Kansas City.
The entire list of minor-league free agents is available at Baseball America.
Hot Stove Notes:
-- The Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday, and Jen Langosch of MLB.com posts that her sources say the Bucs cleared a spot on their forty-man roster in anticipation of claiming a warm body. The player waived is infielder Luis Cruz, who hit .214 last season.
-- Tim Williams of Bucco Fans has put together a pretty comprehensive list of the top Rule 5 candidates available this year.
-- Jonathan Etkowicz of MLB Notebook has an article on the good fit between free agent RHP Justin Duchsherer and the Buccos.