The Twins have agreed to a minor league contract with veteran outfielder Drew Stubbs, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). The Lagardere Sports client will be invited to Major League Spring Training and compete for a role with the club.
Minnesota’s outfield currently figures to feature Eddie Rosario in left field, Byron Buxton in center field and Max Kepler in right field, so there won’t be a clear-cut starting role for Stubbs to pursue. However, both Rosario and Kepler hit left-handed and have struggled against same-handed pitching to this point in their young careers, making Stubbs a potential platoon partner. In 841 career plate appearances against lefties, Stubbs is a .272/.348/.444 hitter with a 10.3 percent walk rate but a more troubling 29.8 percent strikeout rate.
Switch-hitting Robbie Grossman could be a better option than Stubbs against left-handed pitching, as most of his damage is done from the right side of the dish, but Stubbs is a considerably superior defender that is also capable of playing center field. Converted infielder Danny Santana is also in the mix for an outfield role, and he’s out of minor league options, which could give him a leg up with a solid spring performance.
The 32-year-old Stubbs was once regarded as one of the game’s top all-around prospects and showed a nice mix of power and speed early in his career with the Reds, but his production has tapered off, relegating him to reserve role in recent seasons. Last year, he appeared with the Braves, Rangers and Orioles in the Majors in 2016, batting a combined .225/.330/.338 in 94 trips to the plate. He hasn’t received regular work in the Majors since a monster 2014 season with the Rockies, during which he hit .289/.339/.482 with 15 homers and 20 stolen bases.