Much of the focus this offseason for the Minnesota Twins has been on the need to add starting pitching, and rightfully so. But the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere has left the team with some potential depth issues in the outfield.
A report on Friday from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN-Twin Cities suggests the Twins have shown some interest in free agent outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who spent the 2012 season with the Boston Red Sox and hit .260 with 16 RBI in 63 games (219 plate appearances) before being sidelined by a broken left pinkie finger in late July that required surgery. He also missed some time last season due to a concussion and a stress fracture in his left big toe, so Boston’s decision to non-tender him after just one season with the team was not a big surprise.
Sweeney has largely been a part-time player during his time in the big leagues, as he has only played in more than 130 games or had more than 450 plate appearances in a season once (2009). In seven seasons with the Red Sox, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox, he has a career batting average of .280 with 14 home runs, 185 RBI and 224 runs scored in 535 games played (1,900 plate appearances).
Sweeney’s versatility defensively, since he has experience at all three outfield spots, makes him a nice fit as a fourth outfielder for the Twins. His platoon splits, with a .293 career average against right-handed pitching and a .225 career average against left-handers, would make it even easier for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire to navigate the ideal situations to use him.
Sweeney made $1.75 million last season with Boston in his first year of arbitration eligibility, so signing him would not be a costly proposition for Minnesota or any other team. It may come down to how long a contract Sweeney and his agent are seeking as interested teams surface, but I would not mind seeing him brought to the Twins on a one or two-year deal as long as his salary expectations are realistic.