Jeff Salazar, Bryan Bullington Become Free Agents

Since we're at the point in the year where there's nothing to care about except little things, here's some news: a bunch of guys just became minor league free agents. The only Pirate on the list is Jeff Salazar, who went 1-for-23 for the Bucs this year. Salazar probably needed to hit better this season to have much of a shot at a real major-league career, which is too bad; he has an .826 career minor league OPS (albeit in some pretty hospitable hitting environments, like Tucson and Colorado Springs), and it's a shame he never got more of a shot. Most guys who stick as fourth outfielders begin their careers as starters, like Brandon Moss this year; guys like Salazar who have the skillset but are never lucky enough to be confused for starters usually don't make it.

Also on the list of minor league free agents are former Pirate #1-overall picks Kris Benson and Bryan Bullington. Bullington actually pitched very well for the Jays' Class AAA affiliate in Las Vegas, but he didn't make an appearance there after June. The list also includes Chris Duffy, Chris Shelton, and Craig Stansberry.

Other vaguely interesting names on the list: Phil Humber (third overall pick by the Mets in 2004, acquired by Twins in the Johan Santana trade, stalled in the high minors), IF Wilson Betemit (former top Braves prospect, still not that old, bad season in the White Sox organization but versatile and potentially still useful), RP Javier Lopez (again, a terrible season, but he's one year removed from being one of the majors' more effective relievers), RP Greg Aquino (consistently good minor league numbers; certainly a better option than the Denny Bautistas of the world), RP Vinnie Chulk (ditto), RP Jon Switzer (same), RP Joe Nelson (actually a totally decent MLB pitcher for the Rays last year, and a terrific one for the Marlins in 2008), and lefty SP Travis Blackley (former top Mariners prospect finally seems to be pitching with better control in his late 20s and still hasn't been used exclusively as a reliever, where he might find his niche).

Nothing big here, but I'd be mildly psyched to see the Bucs sign Blackley, in particular.

Thanks to WTM.

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