The RailRiders are a little less than four months away from playing their first game of the 2015 season.

They’re already promising to look quite a bit different than the club that struggled through the last two years.

The first big-name minor league free agent signed by the Yankees has come to light, and it’s former San Diego Padres farmhand Jonathan Galvez. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from the Dominican hit .280 with 10 homers and 52 RBIs in 103 games last season for Triple-A El Paso before becoming a six-year free-agent at season’s end.

Galvez was signed to a minor-league contract, and unless he wins a spot on the Yankees roster in big league camp, his likely destination to open the season is with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That said, the Yankees have cornered the market on versatile, young hitters on the minor-league free-agent market in recent years. And not all of them have spent much time with the RailRiders.

Last offseason, the Yankees signed then-little-known utility man Yangervis Solarte to provide minor league depth, and he wound up cracking the big league roster out of camp. He hit .254 with six homers and 31 RBIs for the Yankees, spent just five games with the RailRiders and wound up being a prime piece in the trade with San Diego that landed third baseman Chase Headley in New York.

Like Solarte, Galvez is a proven run producer at the Triple-A level who can play a multitude of positions. He split his time at El Paso last season fairly evenly between first base, third base and left field. The 23-year-old played 74 games at second base in Triple-A the season before, and he has also played 176 career games at shortstop.

A right-handed hitter, Galvez hit .354 and slugged .634 against lefties last season, and after missing all of April, he never hit less than .255 in any month.

The only other free agent the Yankees have brought aboard this offseason with a shot at opening the season is lefty pitcher Jose De Paula, who went 4-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 16 games, 10 starts, for Triple-A Fresno last season. But De Paula was added to the 40-man roster and is on a split contract, which reportedly will pay him a little more than $500,000 if he makes the big league team. He does, however, have a minor-league option left, which is part of the reason bringing the hard-throwing lefty aboard was so attractive to the Yankees.

On the way out

Six players who spent time with the RailRiders last season have already moved on to other organizations this offseason.

The biggest name was Zoilo Almonte, the RailRiders’ most consistent middle-of-the-order threat the last two seasons, who signed a major-league deal with the Atlanta Braves.

He might have plenty of familiar company around the Braves’ complex in Orlando this spring.

Three other former RailRiders — second baseman Corban Joseph, right-hander Jairo Heredia and lefty Francisco Rondon — also inked minor-league deals with the Braves.

Almonte played like his typical self most of last season. He struggled from the right side of the plate (.189 with just one homer), but left-handed, he excelled, hitting .272 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs.

The other three struggled. Joseph hit .268 with four homers and 28 RBIs in limited action, but after surgery on his right shoulder, he never regained the form that saw him hit 13 homers during Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s run to the International League North Division title in 2012.

Also gone are former top Yankees draft pick Jeremy Bleich, a lefty who pitched to a 6.68 ERA in 11 games for the RailRiders, and switch pitcher Pat Venditte, who never got a shot in New York despite a 3.36 ERA in 26 outings for the RailRiders last season. Bleich signed a minor league pact with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Venditte inked one with the Oakland A’s.

More moves coming?

Player moves don’t typically start to become more abundant until the annual Winter Meetings, which will be held in San Diego next week.

That’s the event that always concludes — as it will next Thursday — with the annual Rule 5 draft. It might be interesting to follow along for RailRiders fans, who might watch some of 2014’s best talent get selected by other teams.

Among those eligible to be selected this year are: 1B Kyle Roller, RHP Zach Nuding, LHP Matt Tracy and relievers Mark Montgomery and Fred Lewis. None was added to the 40-man roster after the season, and all have spent enough time in the pro ranks to move on if given the opportunity. So is former first-round pick Cito Culver, a slick defensive shortstop who has yet to make it out of A-ball.

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