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?