• Short Memory: Twins Sign Jason Bartlett

    Per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, the Minnesota Twins have signed Jason Bartlett to a minor-league contract, and the veteran shortstop will compete for a job in spring training next year.

    Bartlett, of course, first reached the majors as a member of the Twins organization in 2004. He was acquired from the Padres as a minor-leaguer in 2002 in exchange for outfielder Brian Buchanan. In parts of four seasons as a Twin, Bartlett hit .272/.341/.362 over 1,208 plate appearances. He was traded to Tampa Bay in 2007 as part of the Delmon Young deal, went on to have a career year in 2009, and later landed in San Diego, where he was eventually derailed by injury.

    Bartlett hit .245/.308/.307 over 139 games in 2011, his first year with the Padres, in 2012 he was limited to 29 games by a knee injury, batting just .133. He didn't play at all in 2013 while focusing on healing. He's now 34 and basically hasn't played in two years, making him an extreme long shot, but there's nothing wrong with adding some depth to the shortstop position. Pedro Florimon, who started 127 games there this season while posting a miserable .611 OPS, had stood as the only contender.

    The hope is that Bartlett's time away from the game has strengthened his balky knee, enabling him to come back and show something in camp. At worst, he'll simply provide a touch of nostalgia for Twins fans who remember his tremendous contribitions in 2006 after replacing Juan Castro, when he helped push the club to an historic second-half comeback in the AL Central.

    What are your thoughts on the return of Jason Bartlett?
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      I distinctly remember Gardy having mixed emotions over Bartlett being included in that trade. There is no stupidity to fix.
      As I referenced with Castro - it had nothing to do with the trade and everything to do with indefensible decisions to send Bartlett to AAA in 2005 and 2006 in favor of giving several hundred at-bats to Juan Castro.

      All because of some bizarre, as-yet-undefined lack of "middle infield leadership" that has hurt this team on more than one occasion.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      I would rather watch the 2002 (or 2006 Twins) at their present age than the crap they've run out there the last three seasons. Bring on Johan!
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Not sure i like him better than Pedro.

      I think PF is a breakout candidate next season.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      As I referenced with Castro - it had nothing to do with the trade and everything to do with indefensible decisions to send Bartlett to AAA in 2005 and 2006 in favor of giving several hundred at-bats to Juan Castro.

      All because of some bizarre, as-yet-undefined lack of "middle infield leadership" that has hurt this team on more than one occasion.
      So you're complaining about how he was handled before he became a star on our favorite team. It was indefensible, bizarre, and as-yet-undefined? All's well that ends well.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I'm not sure how a minor league deal almost a decade later fixes the fact that Gardy chose Castro over him. I'm not sure anything fixes that stupidity.
      I never claimed that it had; however, it does put to bed the notion that Gardy choose Castro based on some personal beef with Bartlett. Again, I'm not defending in any way the Castro move.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      I never claimed that it had; however, it does put to bed the notion that Gardy choose Castro based on some personal beef with Bartlett. Again, I'm not defending in any way the Castro move.
      Whose to say whatever personal beef it was hasn't just died out over time? Or that Gardy didn't get much of a say in the matter?

      It's clear Gardy didn't like something about Bartlett - and it couldn't have had any rational basis in talent or ability to play the game.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      So you're complaining about how he was handled before he became a star on our favorite team. It was indefensible, bizarre, and as-yet-undefined? All's well that ends well.
      Bartlett never starred for us. He finally got an opportunity and then was foolishly dealt. And yes, I'm responding to a post in reference to Gardy's treatment of him before he got regular playing time. In particular, the indefensible decision to send him down and play Castro. This hasn't been that difficult a train of discussion to follow.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      It's clear Gardy didn't like something about Bartlett - and it couldn't have had any rational basis in talent or ability to play the game.
      That's a pretty extreme take for having such certitude. But this stuff happened years ago, so it's best to just drop it.
    1. GCTF's Avatar
      GCTF -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      so it's best to just drop it.
      Like this, right?

      Attachment 6008
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by GCTF View Post
      Like this, right?

      Attachment 6008
      I so want to like this. And I still harbor so much bitterness for being subjected to this.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by GCTF View Post
      Like this, right?

      Attachment 6008
      I don't care if it's already been quoted once, that's not enough.

      Now all we need is an appearance by Shores.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      The Gardenhire-Bartlett thing was bizarre.

      From the outside (and we were all outside at that point in their history) it sure seemed like Gardenhire just didn't trust Bartlett and he had some quotes about "wanting him to take charge of the infield" and such that gave the opinion that there was something vague and indeterminate about it. If I remember correctly, Bartlett didn't get to play regularly until Ryan actually traded Castro away.

      But from the moment the Young/Garza-Bartlett trade was made, Gardenhire let everyone know that he really liked Bartlett. Was he showing tough love early? Was he trying to get a laid back kid to be more assertive? Was he just too enamored with veterans? Or was there something else we didn't know about?

      I have no idea. But I think we misread that situation originally. I don't think the "about-face" his a manipulation. I just don't know why he didn't play Bartlett over Castro more often.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      From the outside (and we were all outside at that point in their history) it sure seemed like Gardenhire just didn't trust Bartlett and he had some quotes about "wanting him to take charge of the infield" and such that gave the opinion that there was something vague and indeterminate about it.
      The word I remembered from that era was "consistency", as in, the knock was on his defense. Here is a 2005 article that seems to mesh with that:

      http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/news/...tent_id=965555

      But I also found a 2006 article that had Gardenhire singing "Bart"'s praises for his defense, so if Gardy was sour on him by the time of the trade, something had changed.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      But from the moment the Young/Garza-Bartlett trade was made, Gardenhire let everyone know that he really liked Bartlett. Was he showing tough love early? Was he trying to get a laid back kid to be more assertive? Was he just too enamored with veterans? Or was there something else we didn't know about?
      Maybe he was just being classy and professional with Bartlett on his way out the door, regardless of his personal opinions about the guy? Part of what makes the Twins such a respected organization?

      I still think Gardy gained a lot of power after TR left. Dealing Garza and Bartlett both in the same trade? What made those two expendable on a team that lacked infielders and was already set to deal their best starter (Santana)?

      If that isn't obvious enough for you, how about trading youngster Ramos for proven closer Capps? JJ Hardy dumped for nothing because he didn't have speed?

      Even if Gardy wasn't directly involved in these decisions, Bill Smith was thinking a little too much like Gardy in approaching these transactions, I suspect. Say what you will about TR, but the man doesn't do his manager too many favors.

      Now, what brings Bartlett back? Maybe the issues weren't that big of a deal, or didn't faze Bartlett too much. And if a SS is looking for an opportunity to prolong his career, there's probably no better place to come than Minnesota right now, especially if he indeed has family connections to our AAA town Rochester. Remember the Jacque Jones farewell tour?
    1. Jeff A's Avatar
      Jeff A -
      Bartlett is 34 and hasn't had a good year since 2009. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's a waste of time. It takes away at-bats and practice time from guys who might, possibly, help.

      Meanwhile, everyone seems to have forgotten about Eduardo Escobar, but he hit .307 in two months in Rochester and is hitting very well in winter ball. He may or may not have figured something out, but he's done enough to have earned a chance to show that he has. He certainly has a better chance of being a productive player in 2014 than Bartlett has.
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      A lot of people were complaining (with reason) last year because Hicks and Bensen got demoted/released, Mastro got hurt, and there was no centerfielder. If Escobar goes down, what's the plan? I see no problem with this signing- maybe he has something left and puts pressure on Escobar to perform, maybe someone gets hurt- I'm not quite ready to assume that we have too many players around.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff A View Post
      Bartlett is 34 and hasn't had a good year since 2009. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's a waste of time. It takes away at-bats and practice time from guys who might, possibly, help.
      Yes a waste of time--the chances of a 34 year old Bartlett playing for the Twins in 2014 are slim and none. He wont take playing time away from Rosario, etc. at Rochester either. I am one of the people here hoping Rosario stays at 2B because I am not convinced Dozier's 2013 second half wasn't a fluke.
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      When a team has a large number of young players under contract, all heading for the same goal, it is not be unusual for coaches/Mgrs/FO/and players/fans/writers/agents to have differences of opinion about who will be productive MLB players and lead their teams to the WS and how they will get there. Also, none is perfect and progress at different rates.
    1. BigTrane's Avatar
      BigTrane -
      Hmmm.

      Who feels juiced about Florimon? He has to be the target of this deal, and if that's pressure on him to get it together and perform, then I'm all for it. Seems lo-risk, tho there was no $ amount in the article. Leverage move. Smart.

      We'll see in ST if he's hungry and still has something to prove... and if his body is whole.

      Otherwise, Bartlett = Nibblet. Lil' can o' corn. If he flunks MLB ball, he can always get a job at Tommy Bartlett's Robot World in the Dells. "Celebrity" endorsement possibilities abound. And, he can commute!

      Road-trip must-stop on the way to MIL interleague games.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Nice, fun signing. His wife is from Rochester. I want to say that he lives there in the offseason as he's done a lot for the Red Wings in the offseasons the last several years, even since he left the organization.

      I am certain he's being promised nothing. He basically hasn't played for two years. The Twins have some options for Rochester infield, like Beresford, Santana, etc., but if he makes the AAA roster, would be a nice story, and if he doesn't, oh well. And, if he makes the Twins roster at some point in 2014, that would be a great story!
      Nice take, Seth. If Escobar and Florimon go north with the Twins, this leaves Beresford and Santana at Rochester. Bartlett fits nicely between those two locations, while building fan cred with the Red Wings. Also, Beresford projects at second base, not short. He played 94 games at second between New Britain and Rochester, and only four games at short--all in AA. Beresford was featured at shortstop throughout the low minors, but has been moved to second on his way up to AAA. Good move, Twins.

      With that said, I hope Bartlett stays in AAA--a cozy place to finish out his professional career. Then Santana can move through and push Florimon in 2015.
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