The Minnesota Twins announced on Monday afternoon that they’d claimed infielder Ehire Adrianza from the Milwaukee Brewers, which added him to the team’s 40-man roster. To make room for Adrianza, the Twins designated reliever Pat Light for assignment.
Adrianza was claimed off waivers by the Brewers from the San Francisco Giants just a week ago (Jan. 31), but was DFA’d on Groundhog’s Day when the team acquired Jesus Aguilar. Adrianza was initially DFA’d by the Giants on Jan. 24, as they needed to make room on their 40-man roster for catcher Nick Hundley.
Adrianza appeared in 40 games with the Giants last season, and has made all 154 of his MLB appearances in a San Francisco uniform. Over that time frame, he’s hit .220/.292/.313 while seeing appreciable time at second and shortstop as well as third and a little first base.
Here’s how his playing time has been parsed defensively thus far in his career:
- Second base – 304.2 innings
- Shortstop – 307 innings
- Third base – 31 innings
- First base – 9 innings
Adrianza has never been much of a hitter — .254/.338/.357 in 775 career minor-league games — but is regarded as a solid defender with a future as a utility man. He just turned 27 in August.
Former Fangraphs prospect evaluator Kiley McDaniel — who now holds the position of Assistant Director of Baseball Operations with the Atlanta Braves — said the following about Adrianza in his Giants prospect breakdown in April, 2015:
“The 25-year-old Venezuelan has played in 62 big leagues games as a utility guy, with a hamstring strain last year keeping him off the field and his prospect status alive; he’s a plus defender at shortstop with a plus arm and above average speed, but the bat is light and there isn’t much power; his upside is a Cesar Izturis-type utility guy.”
Adrianza was named among the Giants’ top-10 prospects on Baseball America every year from 2008-11, and was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Arizona League in 2008 and the No. 13 prospect in the California League two years later. Baseball America also rated him the best defensive infielder in the Giants system each year from 2010-12 and he was rated the best defensive shortstop in the California League in 2010.
In short, it may mean that Danny Santana’s job as a utility player is in danger. Santana has been a better major-league hitter, but a standout defender who can play shortstop (like Adrianza) may hold more weight in the eyes of the front office which just claimed him. Santana isn’t necessarily a plus defender anywhere, though jockeying him around certainly hasn’t helped him settle in at any one spot.
The Twins have 10 days to release or trade Light, who will otherwise be outrighted to Triple-A Rochester if he clears waivers. Light throws incredibly hard — 94.6 mph average fastball with the Twins in 2016 — but exhibited poor command in his first cup of coffee in the big leagues with a 16-16 K/BB ratio in 16.2 innings between the Red Sox and Twins this season.