The Minnesota Twins announced a deal with one of their arbitration-eligible players early Monday afternoon, as the team and utility man Ehire Adrianza agreed on a one-year deal worth $1.6 million. Adrianza is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.
The team announced the signing but not the value, which was reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Adrianza set career-high marks across the board in his slash line of .272/.349/.416, and provided capable defense as a backup at second and third base as well as shortstop. Adrianza also started a career-high 12 games at first base — and appeared in 16 total — and even spent 39.1 innings in the outfield as well.
Adrianza joined the Twins in advance of the 2017 season with the reputation as a glove-first utility infielder, and he was a career hitter of .220/.292/.313 (69 OPS+) through his first 154 MLB games. However, in 267 games with the Twins, Adrianza has hit .260/.321/.391 (91 OPS+) with 2019 — his age-29 season — standing out as his finest to date.
The Venezuela native may prove even more valuable in 2020, as MLB is going to a 26-man roster, which will allow for even more roster fluidity as well as the ability for manager Rocco Baldelli to use his bench players a bit more judiciously without fear of emptying out his bench and leaving the team short-handed.
In addition to the Adrianza news, MLB announced that Nelson Cruz had been awarded the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. The award, which has been handed out perennially since the advent of the position in 1973 — except in 1994 due to the strike — was renamed after the legendary Seattle DH in September 2004.
Martinez won the award five times, but former Twin David Ortiz holds the record for most times (eight). Paul Molitor (1996) and Chili Davis (1991) are the only previous recipients in Twins history. Other former Twins to win the award include Kendrys Morales (2015) and Don Baylor (1985-86).
Cruz won the award with Seattle in 2017, but took things to a new level with the Twins in 2019. Cruz not only reached 40 home runs for the first time since 2016 and the fourth time in his career, but he hit .311/.392/.639 for an overall OPS of 1.031 — a career-high mark.
Cruz is under contract with the Twins through the 2020 season. He’ll turn 40 on July 1 of the 2020 season.