WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney announced today the signing of infielder Nate Samson and left-handed pitcher Brendan Lafferty to contracts for the 2013 season.
Samson, 25, is a veteran after playing seven seasons in the Chicago Cubs organization, reaching Triple-A Iowa in 2008 and 2012. Last season he hit .271 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 75 games at Double-A Tennessee and batted .280 with three RBI in 19 games with Iowa.
"He's going to be our everyday shortstop," Forney said. "We were looking for somebody with some experience and we finally found somebody. He's played a lot of professional baseball and still has an upside. He can play multiple positions, but he's spent a lot of time at shortstop."
Samson was drafted in the 34th round of the 2006 MLB amateur draft by the Cubs out of Forest High School in Ocala, Florida. His best season came in 2008 when he batted .293 with two home runs and 42 RBI in 128 games at Single-A Peoria and was rated by Baseball America as the best defensive shortstop in the Midwest League. He has 313 games on his resume at Double-A or Triple-A.
Lafferty, 26, becomes the third player to sign with the Goldeyes this season from the Kansas City Royals organization. The southpaw made 47 appearances out of the bullpen last season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas of the Texas League. He was 1-1 with 4.77 ERA and a save. He amassed 71 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. He attended spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies after being selected by the Phillies in the 2012 Rule 5 draft, but was returned to the Royals following spring training.
"He's a quality left-handed arm and the Goldeyes are always interested in those type of guys," Forney said. "He's either going to be a seventh or eighth inning guy or a starter. He throws strikes, so I am sure he can fill any role."
Lafferty was selected by the Royals in the 18th round of the 2009 MLB amateur draft out of UCLA. He played four seasons in their system, including the last two at Double-A and competed in the Arizona Fall League in 2011.
The Goldeyes have also placed left-handed pitcher Colton Pitkin and infielder Yurendell de Caster on irrevocable waivers for the purpose of granting their release. Pitkin, who was signed earlier in the offseason, has elected to retire from professional baseball, while de Caster is pursuing opportunities in the Mexican League.
The Goldeyes now have 26 players signed for the 2013 season, including 14 pitchers and 12 position players. American Association teams are slated to opening training camp on May 4 and can have up to 28 players on their training camp roster.