March 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Antoan Richardson (4) workout prior to the game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Twins Sign Two Free Agents to Minor League Deals

The Twins signed two minor league free agents late last week, outfielder Antoan Richardson and infielder Doug Bernier.

Richardson, a native of the Bahamas,  is listed at 5’8″ and 165 lbs, and is known as a speedster on the base paths with defensive range in center field and a weak arm. Think Ben Revere, without the gaudy batting average.

Unlike Revere, however, Richardson draws a lot of walks and owns a career OBP of .398, more than 120 points higher than his batting average. He’s doesn’t mind taking a pitch to the ribs, has stolen bases at a career 84% mark, and has swiped as many as 66 bags in a season. He also had a grand total of nine extra base hits last year.

Richardson was drafted four times, twice by the Orioles, so teams have seen potential in him in the past. However, at age 29 and having spent just 27 games above AA, Richardson is most likely organizational depth, and his ceiling is probably that of a defensive fourth outfielder and pinch runner. On the right ball club, there is definitely value to be had in that type of player, but with a plethora of organizational outfield talent, chances are the 2013 Twins aren’t that ball club.

Bernier is a slick-glove, small-bat player who has thrived defensively as a middle infielder but has experience at all four infield positions. He’s spent the past six seasons at AAA, including two stints in the Yankees organization. At 33 years old in June, he has even less MLB experience than Richardson’s nine games with the Braves, but still has the potential to be a solid defensive utility player in the right situation.

While Bernier hits for neither average nor power, he does own an OBP of .337 in those six years of AAA, as well as a fielding percentage of .956 in nearly 500 chances at third base. With little in the way of middle infield depth and intended backup Jamey Carroll potentially spending another season as a starter in 2013, Bernier could find his way onto the roster at some point this season.

It’s not clear whether either player has been extended an invitation to spring training.

 

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Tags: Antoan Richardson Ben Revere Doug Bernier Minnesota Twins Spring Training

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