The Twins have sent outfielder Mark Contreras outright to Triple-A St. Paul after he went unclaimed on waivers, according to his transactions log at MLB.com. He’d been designated for assignment last month after the Twins finalized their one-year contract with Joey Gallo.
Contreras has spent his entire career in the Minnesota organization. A seventh-round draftee in 2017, he spent nearly five years climbing the minor league ladder. The Twins selected the UC Riverside product onto their 40-man roster last May. He held that spot for the rest of the season, although he continued to spend much of the year on optional assignment to St. Paul. Contreras got into 28 big league contests, hitting .121/.148/.293 with 21 strikeouts and only one walk in his first 61 plate appearances.
The 27-year-old (28 later this month) showed a fair bit better with the Saints. Contreras put up a .237/.317/.418 line through 423 Triple-A plate appearances last year. He connected on 15 home runs and 21 doubles while stealing 23 bases in only 25 attempts. The left-handed hitter showed an intriguing combination of power and athleticism, but swing-and-miss concerns eventually squeezed him off the roster. Contreras punched out in nearly 30% of his trips to the plate at the highest minor league level and he has a 27.9% strikeout percentage throughout his minor league career.
Contreras had never before been outrighted and has fewer than three years of major league service. That means he does not have the ability to refuse the assignment for free agency. He’ll stick in the organization without occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he receives a non-roster invitation to big league Spring Training before heading back to St. Paul as outfield depth.