Major League clubs often try to create depth within their organization by signing has-been MLB players to minor league contracts during the offseason. Sometimes these pan out in a big way, and other times stay what they are- minor deals. Through the first month+ of the season there have been some players that signed minor league deals that have been making major contributions at the big league level. The following is a list of positional players and pitchers that have given their team an unexpected jolt.
*ESPN baseball analyst Rob Neyer thought only Chad Tracy would make a difference, turns out there are many more.
*Austin Kearns/CLE- .343/.980, 8 r, 11 xbh, 12 rbi, 2 sb. Would be in the top 10 among AL leaders in batting average if he had enough at bats to qualify. One of the few bright spots on the Indians squad this season.
*Marcus Thames/NYY- .429/1.158. Yankees are glad they have him to mash lefties from the DH spot, especially with all the injuries they've suffered.
*Jim Edmonds/MIL- .279/.823, 12 r, 8 xbh, 5 rbi. Edmonds took a year off and now is a starting outfielder for the Brew Crew in 2010.
*Chad Tracy/CHC- .286/.681. Nice versatile addition to the Cubbies bench.
*Darnell McDonald/BOS- .275/.858, 7 r, 7 rbi. Has filled in admirably for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury.
*Matt Treanor/DET- .240/.665, 7 r, 6 rbi. Has caught 33% of base stealers, and put up decent numbers for a backup catcher.
*Livan Hernandez/WAS- 4 w, 0.99 ERA/1.02 WHIP, 36.1 ip. He's a big reason for the Nationals improved pitching staff this season.
*Rodrigo Lopez/ARI- 1 w, 4.14/1.38, 37 ip. The Diamondbacks are getting more bang for their buck on a minor league deal with Lopez than they are from the rest of their starting staff.
*Clay Hensley/FLA- 10 g, 14.2 ip, 22 k, 1 w, 1.84/1.30. Fantastic relief work from the previously untrustworthy Hensley.
*Will Ohman/BAL- 14 g, 9.1 ip, 0.00/1.29. The lefty has yet to allow a run, what more could you ask for?
*Guillermo Mota/SFG- 11 g, 10.1 ip, 0.87/0.87. Minuscule ERA/WHIP from just another dependable reliver in the Giants bullpen.
*Ron Mahay/MIN- 9 g, 7.2 ip, 0.00/0.78. Signed late in spring training, but quick to make a positive impact.
*Joe Beimel/COL- 10 g, 9.2 ip, 0.93/0.83. The Rox are lucky to have Beimel back.
*Josh Rupe/KAN- 9 g, 9.1 ip, 1 w, 3.86/1.61. One of the few Royals relievers that can actually get outs.
*Hisanori Takahashi/NYM- 10 g, 18.2 ip, 26 k, 2 w, 3.38/1.39. Has been a pitching staff savior so far with his long relief ability.
*Jack Taschner/PIT- 11 g, 14 ip, 14 k, 1 w, 4.50/1.21. Has been the Buccos' second best reliever.
*John Parrish/KAN- 9 g, 6 ip, 1 w, 3.00/1.50. Once again, a Royals reliever that records outs is a rare thing.
*Brad Thompson/KAN- 6 g, 7.2 ip, 2.35/0.91. Hard to believe that the best bullpen work for Kansas City has come from minor league contracts.
*DJ Carrasco/PIT- 11 g, 19.2 ip, 18 k, 1 w, 4.58/1.22. Total workhorse out of the 'pen.
*Statistics through games played on 5/5/10.