Alejandro Freire Baez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.
Alejandro Freire made the major leagues in his 14th professional baseball season.
1992-1996: Astros chain
Freire debuted in 1992 with the DSL Astros. In '93, he hit .315 for that club. By 1994, Alejandro was stateside with the GCL Astros, batting .301/.355/.386. In 1995, Freire produced at a .305/.381/.472 clip for the Quad City River Bandits; he led the team in home runs (15) and RBI (65, 1 ahead of Chris Truby). Alejandro had his first struggles in 1996, hitting .255/.309/.417 for the Kissimmee Cobras; he still led the team with 24 doubles and his 12 homers tied for the lead.
1997-2001: Tigers farmhand
Freire was chosen by the Detroit Tigers in the minor league portion of the 1996 Rule V Draft. Assigned to the Lakeland Tigers in '97, he hit .323/.396/.545 with 24 home runs, 85 runs and 92 RBI, the most by a Tigers farmhand that year. He stole 13 bases in 17 tries. He led the club in homers, 5 ahead of Gabe Kapler, and in average. He was two home runs shy of Florida State League leader Adrian Beltre and was second in the league in average, trailing Ramon Valette. Freire was named to the FSL All-Star team as the best first baseman in a league which included David Ortiz. He was still only 22, not particularly old for his level, but it would be 8 years until he made the majors.
Freire had a solid year in 1998, batting .275/.336/.433 with 30 doubles and 16 home runs for the Jacksonville Suns. He led Southern League first basemen in putouts (1,050), assists (113) and double plays (109). He split '99 between Jacksonville (.296/.366/.502 in 66 G) and Lakeland (.220/.400/.366 in 13 G).
For the second time, Freire led all Tigers farmhands in RBI, with 77 in 2000. He hit .274/.381/.467 for Jacksonville and slugged 25 home runs. He led the Southern League in home runs. That winter, he hit .250 for the Oriente Caribbeans of the Venezuelan League with 8 homers, 5 behind league leader Alex Cabrera.
Despite his '00 success, Freire returned to AA in 2001; now 26, he was clearly not a major prospect. He batted .295/.365/.463 with 33 doubles, 17 homers and 82 RBI for the Erie SeaWolves. He played mostly DH; Erie's first baseman was a younger player, Eric Munson, who also was hitting better, clearly not helping Alejandro's chances of advancement.
2002-2003: San Francisco system
Having re-signed with Detroit three times as a minor league free agent, Freire opted for a new system, signing with the San Francisco Giants. He split 2002 between the Shreveport Swamp Dragons (.282/.363/.503) and Fresno Grizzlies (.274/.358/.397), finally making it to AAA. He hit .299 for the Zulia Eagles that winter but only homered twice. Freire hit .311/.383/.486 with 31 doubles, 18 home runs and 80 RBI for the 2003 Norwich Navigators, sharing first base with a player who had a similar career path, Mike Cervenak. Freire led Giants minor leaguers in hits (155), total bases (242) and slugging. He was chosen for the Eastern League All-Star team at DH.
Freire signed with the 2004 Veracruz Eagle, but only batted .200/.250/.387 in 25 games in the high-octane Mexican League. It looked like his career was finally over; instead, he was just a year from the majors.
2005: The Show
Freire signed with the Baltimore Orioles for 2005. He spent most of the year with the Ottawa Lynx, batting .299/.376/.512 with 19 home runs. That earned him his only look at the major leagues, making his debut shortly before his 31st birthday.
Alejandro debuted in the major leagues as a designated hitter, hitting 7th. In his first MLB at-bat, he flew out against Scott Kazmir. He finished his first day 0 for 4. Freire hit his only big league home run on September 2, off Lenny DiNardo, a solo shot in a 7-3 win. He batted .246/.319/.338 in 25 games for the 2005 Orioles.
2006-: Winding Down
Freire struggled in 2006 with Ottawa (.226/.303/.316) and played the rest of the year with the independent Camden Riversharks (.289/.359/.497, 10 HR, 41 RBI in 51 G).
In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, Freire was 0 for 14 with a walk, as Spain fell far short of an Olympic spot.