Among all of the minor league free agents who have found fresh opportunities this offseason, one of the most intriguing to this corner is big John Lindsey, who will report to spring training as a non-roster invitee of the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, FL next month.
Florida signed the 245-pound first baseman after his second powerful season in the Los Angeles Dodgers' farm system, where he did everything except get to the major league roster during the National League season. He had a terrific showing last spring, including the Dodgers' trip to Japan, and he banged out 26 homers and drove in 100 runs for Triple-A Las Vegas during the season. That meant the soon-to-be 32-year-old (his birthday is January 30) connected for 56 round-trippers and plated 188 runs in the two summers in the Dodgers' chain since his contract was purchased from the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League. He played for the Jackals in both 2005 and 2006.
Lindsey's chances with the Marlins should be better than continuing to play behind young James Loney in Los Angeles, and it may come down to how many games Jorge Cantu plays at first base. Cantu drove in 95 runs in '08, but played in only 66 games at first. Mike Jacobs got most of the playing time at that position, but he has moved on to Kansas City.
Lindsey has stayed sharp in the Mexican Pacific League this winter. He has 11 doubles and eight home runs among his 40 hits, but is hitting only a so-so .256. His home run count and his 32 RBI both rank second for Mazatlan.
Including Lindsey, we can now account for nearly 50 players with an Independent background who will be in major league camps, and that number seems to grow nearly every day. It is fairly evenly split between those on 40-man rosters and the invitees. We will examine the full list of non-roster players in next week's Independent Baseball Insider column.
THREE OTHER NON-ROSTER PLAYERS ON SAME TEAM
John Lindsey's teammates at Mazatlan this winter include three other players with Independent Baseball experience who are non-roster invitees to major league camps. Outfielder Jon Weber (.289-4-20) will be with defending American League champion Tampa Bay, Brian Myrow is sharing some time at first base (.217-2-6) and southpaw Randy Williams is an impressive 3-0, 2.16. Myrow and Williams will be in camp with the Chicago White Sox. Weber played his Independent baseball in the Frontier (Canton, OH) and Northern (Fargo, ND) Leagues, Myrow was with Winnipeg in the Northern and Williams played for Edinburg, TX when it was part of the Central League.