The Twins have signed 1B/DH Lucas Duda to a minor-league pact with an invite to Spring Training, per a team release. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Duda will earn $1.75MM if he cracks the MLB roster, and can earn up to $1.5MM in further incentives.
Duda, 33, turned in a number of stellar seasons with the Mets in the middle part of the decade, four times posting a 120 wRC+ or better during the most pitcher-friendly era in decades. His output has tapered substantially over the last two seasons, though: a putrid second-half performance with Tampa in 2017 was followed by a below-league-average .241/.313/.418 mark over 367 PAs with the Royals and Braves last season.
Never a defensive stalwart – he was a disaster in an early-career outfield experiment – Duda’s bat, particularly against right-handed pitching, against whom he owns a robust .251/.354/.485 line, has carried him to a long and mostly-productive career. His hard-hit rate, always among the league’s best, has slipped in a bit in recent seasons, but still checked in a respectable 38.4% last season.
For the Twins, he’ll offer an excellent complement at first base to C.J. Cron, who was over 40% better against lefties than righties last season, and should serve as a serviceable strong-side platoon option at DH, were Nelson Cruz to succumb to injury. Even in a bench role, or stashed in the minors as insurance, Duda is the perfect choice to offset a righty-heavy Twins lineup.