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More Minor League Free Agents

Not everyone has to have been around the minors for six years to become a free agent. Here are some more players that I did not look at when I put together the first list. Once again, there probably are not any stars in this group, but the Mariners could use a bunch more talent.

9. Edgar Gonzalez, RHP - Gonzalez has spent most of the past three years in the majors with the Diamondbacks, though he has not found much success. His control has grown steadily worse over the past couple years as it appears he has grown accustomed to nibbling around the strike zone. On opening day Gonzalez will be 26 years old, so he is still rather young, and perhaps a change of scenery would help him regain some confidence.

8. Laynce Nix, OF - At this point, I think the general perception of Nix is that of a fallen prospect. However, he actually was brought up way too early. Nix has continued to steadily progress, and at this point he is a left-handed bat with power at a position the M's could use a few players. Still, his plate discipline is not all that great, he strikes out a ton, and he is yet to prove he can carry his minor league success into the majors. He is only worth the risk with a small contract - but that is all it will take to sign him.

7. Kevin Mench, OF - Mench was always underrated when he played in Texas, and he got lost in the shuffle in Milwaukee. His production definitely dropped off last year, but he is young enough to think that he may bounce back and be a decent starting option. The M's don't have an abundance of bona fide major-league ready outfield talent right now (though it looks like they've got a couple guys pretty close), so a guy like Mench is worth taking a chance on.

6. Brian Myrow, 1B - Myrow is quite old for a ballplayer that has never got a real chance in the majors (he is 32), and it is a shame that he has never got a chance. Myrow does not have prototypical power for a first baseman, but he has shown a remarkably discerning eye at the plate. Granted, the Mariners probably are not all that interested in adding an older bench player to the roster right now, but Myrow's greatest strengths are in the areas of greatest weakness on this team right now. He is a good fit for Safeco Field, and a great fit for the current roster.

5. Chad Cordero, RHP - Just a couple seasons ago, Cordero was considered one of the best closers in all of baseball. Major arm injuries have a tendency to lower a pitcher's status though. Though Cordero is still young and has a remarkable record of previous success, it is hard to say what he has to offer at this point. Cordero was already declining some before missing virtually all of this past year, and there is a good chance he is only a shadow of what he once was. However, he has never relied heavily on velocity, so maybe he can bounce back. If Cordero can prove he is healthy, teams would surely want him at the trade deadline, so a team like the Mariners might effectively pick up a free prospect by signing him, giving him a chance, and then trading him to a contender. Cordero could also be an interesting replacement for J.J. Putz, if he were to be traded.

4. Justin Germano, RHP - Germano struggled last year, both in the majors and AAA. However, he is still relatively young at 26 years old, and his past production gives reason to believe that he can bounce back. Germano would be a great guy to sign to a minor league contract as a sixth or seventh starter. If he bounces back, whoever picks him up could have a solid number four or five starter for several years.

3. Chris Shelton, 1B - Shelton made a big splash in 2006 when he got off to a torrid start with the Tigers. He had cooled off quite a bit by the all-star break that year, and nobody has paid much attention to him since. However, he still flashes good power, and the M's don't exactly have a ton of answers at first base right now anyway.

2. Wes Bankston, 1B - Bankston hasn't really posted big numbers at any point in his career. However, he has progressed somewhat steadily, and he has always flashed power potential. Since he is only 25 years old, there is reason to believe he will continue to progress. If he gets a little more discerning eye at the plate, his power will be even more noticable. Regardless, Bankston would push Bryan LaHair for the starting first base job right now, and if he progresses some he could adequately fill the position for several years.

1. Ryan Langerhans, OF - Langerhans is one of the best defensive players available in all of free agency. Also, he is patient at the plate, and brings a little power and speed to the table as well. If the Mariners signed him, they could make him the starting centerfielder, leave Ichiro right, and move Jeremy Reed to left field. All of a sudden, that outfield defensively doesn't look so bad, and it would be way better than anything they have fielded the past couple years. Langerhans is the cheapest way the Mariners ccould upgrade their entire pitching staff, which would go a long way towards replacing Raul's offensive production in a creative, extremely economic manner.

Minor league free agents do not get much publicity, but there is talent to be found. When a team is as bad as the Mariners are right now, there is no risk in taking a chance on these guys. Carlos Pena bounced around for years before things clicked for him in Tampa Bay. While Pena is the exception, there is no chance of finding a diamond in the rough unless a team goes digging.