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Yangervis Solarte was one of 12 Twins minor leaguers who were allowed to become Six-Year Minor League Free Agents five days after the World Series. Solarte signed with the Twins from Venezuela in June of 2005. In 2011, he hit .329/.367/.466 with 36 doubles, three triples, seven homers and 49 RBI. Not bad for a 2B. For a team that has struggled with middle infield development, it’s hard to believe that Solarte would not have been added to the 40 man roster before becoming a free agent. He can now sign with any team, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him get a 40 man roster spot with another team. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me if he re-signed with the Twins still.
Here are the others who became six-year free agents:
- RHP Andy Baldwin – The Duluth native pitched in Rochester last year.
- LHP Dusty Hughes – Spent time with the Twins early in the season and pitched alright in Rochester the rest of the season.
- LHP Chuck James – The #FreeChuckJames campaign, and his tremendous early-season pitching, got him a couple of very brief looks with the Twins.
- LHP Jake Stevens – The Naples native pitched in New Britain and Rochester. Following the season, he mentioned that he was called in to the Twins minor league offices, was given a ring for his part in throwing a no-hitter in Rochester, and then told his services were no longer needed with the Twins.
- C Jair Fernandez – The catcher came to the Twins from Seattle for RA Dickey, and played pretty well. He was just too injured in 2011.
- C Allan de San Miguel – The Aussie catcher signed when he was so young. Great defense. Struggled with the bat. Elbow surgery in 2011.
- 1B Jeff Bailey – Brought in quickly after becoming a free agent last year to help the Red Wings, he struggled mightily the first couple of months of the season.
- IF Toby Gardenhire – The manager’s son has been a utility infielder throughout his minor league career. Great teammate and leader, not much of a hitter. Can’t help but assume he’ll be back. Should be.
- 3B Chase Lambin – 32 year old came to the Twins last offseason as a free agent. Struggled early.
- SS Paul Kelly – 2nd round pick in 2005 from Texas high school. Solid debut in 2005, and played well for half of 2006 before he was hurt. Since 2007, he has played a combined 24 games in five seasons with various injuries. If healthy, he probably (maybe?) could have been the Twins shortstop the past few years already. After three games this season, they found a blood clot in his neck and he missed the rest of the season. What could have been!? And, hopefully he can continue to play!
- OF Brandon Roberts – Came to the Twins in the Kyle Lohse trade, the speedy outfielder had too many knee issues and missed a lot of time.
It’s possible some of these guys will be back. It’s possible some of these guys won’t play again.
Here are some other names you may recognize that became free agents for other organizations:
- Michael Restovich – Arizona Diamondbacks
- Armando Gabino – Baltimore Orioles
- Brendan Harris – Baltimore Orioles
- Matt Fox – Boston Red Sox
- Jose Morales – Colorado Rockies
- Matt Macri – Colorado Rockies
- Alex Romero – Florida Marlins
- Ryan Rowland-Smith – Houston Astros
- Gil Velazquez – Los Angeles Angels
- Anderson Machado – Milwaukee Brewers
- Boof Bonser – New York Mets
- Mike Lamb – New York Yankees
- Steve Singleton – Philadelphia Phillies
- Jeff Clement, Brandon Wood – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Steve Tolleson, Bobby Kielty – San Diego Padres
- Casey Daigle – San Francisco Giants
- Doug Deeds – Texas Rangers
- Yohan Pino – Toronto Blue Jays