Minnesota Twins Sign Ryan Sweeney

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The Minnesota Twins have signed Ryan Sweeney to a minor league deal.

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The Minnesota Twins have signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a minor league deal. Sweeney has also been invited to spring training. Sweeney is 30 years old and has played in 9 MLB seasons. A 4th outfielder has been something the Twins are looking for this offseason. Along with Darin Mastroianni, Sweeney gives the Twins additional options for that role. If he doesn’t earn the spot, he’ll serve as AAA depth in Rochester. Sweeney is the 6th in a spate of minor league signings this week.

Sweeney was drafted by the White Sox in 2003. After three seasons in the minors, and being hailed as a top prospect, he made his MLB debut in 2006. After another cup of coffee in 2007 he was traded to the Athletics in the Nick Swisher deal. Sweeney emerged as a semi-regular with the A’s in 2008. He posted a 2 bWAR that year and 3 bWAR in 2009. He was traded to Boston prior to the 2012 season. He saw his playing time and offence drop off with the Red Sox. He signed with the Cubs and spent 2013 and 2014 as a part timer. Sweeney was released by the Cubs just before the 2015 regular season began. He did not play at any level for the remainer of that year.

To date Sweeney has slashed .276/.333/.380, had a 6.5 WAR and 5 DRS. He’s a slightly below average hitter who is able to get on base with regularity. He doesn’t have many steals but Fangraphs rates him as a slightly above average baserunner (1.5 BsR). Strangely, he’s never shown much power in spite of his large frame. He’s an above average outfielder. He can play all three outfield positions but is best in right and should avoid playing centre. In right field Sweeney has posted a 15 DRS mark over his career.

Sweeney bats left and displays a typical left handed split (although he did display reverse splits in a small sample with the Cubs). He has a .613 OPS against lefties in his career and a .738 OPS against righties. Sweeney could work well in a platoon situation.

Next: Twins Sign Abad

As with all of these recent minor league signings, it comes with very little risk. Sweeney might spend the whole season in AAA or might even get released but it wouldn’t be a big deal. On the other hand, Sweeney could regain the form that once saw him rack up 3 WAR. Even if he were to regain his 2013 form with the Cubs that would be a boon to the Twins next year.