According to this Baseball America blog post, six players who spent some time on the Trenton Thunder roster during the 2008 season have become free agents.
Pitchers Oneli Perez, Victor Zambrano and Jose Valdez, infielder Carlos Mendoza and outfielders Matt Carson and Edwar Gonzalez are all now available to the highest bidder.
I’m slightly surprised to see Perez and Valdez on the list, and moderately surprised that Gonzalez is on there.
Perez got off to a really rough start with the Thunder, but the six-fingered wonder showed some real flashes at time, especially in a spot start he made late in the year.
Valdez seemed to be one of “the guys” in the bullpen from the midway point of the year on, and while he has a small frame that doesn’t seem to leave much room for building himself up, he had good stuff and his numbers were solid.
I think a lot of people put Matt Carson and Gonzalez in the same group, but Gonzalez is two years younger and hit 20 home runs between Single-A Tampa and Trenton. As is the case with many guys with a big bat, he certainly had a penchant for the strikeout, but I could have seen him in Scranton next year…in any case, this isn’t an organization that’s stacked with power by any means, so it was somewhat surprising to me.
As for Zambrano, Mendoza and Carson…Zambrano was more or less a waste of whatever money they gave him, as was Eric Milton, who they also let go. They brought him in with the hopes that he could be a big league option late in the year. He wasn’t. So it’s a waste.
Mendy is a good guy, but had no future whatsoever in that organization. He’s a good guy to have around both in the clubhouse and on the field in terms of versatility, but ideally you’d have someone younger in that role.
As for Carson, I think everyone pretty much was under the assumption that he was going to be moving on after the year. I could see him being a big leaguer some day. I remember people gave me a lot of crap for predicting he’d be a breakout player this year, but I feel like I was ultimately right…I think people underestimate how good of an arm he has and what kind of motor he has out there in the outfield, and again, this isn’t an organization that has too many legitimate power threats right now.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com