Within hours of each other the Padres have signed two infielders to Minor League deals without invites to Spring Training.
Brooks Conrad has come home from Japan after producing a slash of .175/.319/.281 with 0 HR and 0 RBI in 24 games with the Hanshin Tigers. Conrad plays second and third base. Originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 8th round of the 2001 draft, Conrad made his Major League debut in 2008 with the Oakland A’s. In 2009 Conrad was signed as a Minor League free agent and sent to the minors to begin the season. After several injuries and some poor hitting by second baseman Kelly Johnson, Conrad was called up and played with the Braves off and on as a bench bat for three years. Conrad is a switch hitter and is decent in the field.
The Padres also signed 2003 1st Round Pick and former Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year Brandon Wood. Wood has been playing in the Minors for two years now, without a call up. Wood has raked in the Minors with a .278/.342/.509 career slash line. This Minor League success has never translated over to the Majors, however. Last season Wood produced a .226/.262/.329 slash line with AAA teams Omaha and Norfolk. In 2006, Wood finished second in Minor League extra base hits with 71. He finished second to Brooks Conrad. Wood was Baseball America’s #3 prospect in all of baseball during the 2006 season.
With these additions, the El Paso Chihuahuas infield may be complete. It may be too full, actually. Alex Dickerson can play first base or outfield. Cody Decker will probably play some First Base. If Alberto Gonzalez is not the utility infielder for the Padres, he could be in the Chihuahuas middle infield. Recently acquired Ryan Jackson is a middle infielder. Jake Lemmerman, who was selected from the Cardinals during the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft is a Short Stop. If Alberto Gonzalez makes the big club, Alexi Amarista could be in the Chihuahuas middle infield, as well. Jonathan Galvez should be the Second Baseman now that Dean Anna is gone. Lastly, Tommy Medica will probably be at First Base. So, the Chihuahuas appear to be heading into their inaugural season with at least 10 infielders.
Maybe Conrad and Wood will find their 2006 magic again and the Chihuahuas will be down to eight infielders!
Stay tuned for more free agent and minor league free agent news.