While baseball remains in a lockout, teams are still able to add organizational depth through minor league signings. Earlier this week, a former SF Giants middle infielder found a home for 2022 with the Minnesota Twins.
SF Giants middle infielder from the 2020 season signs with Twins
According to the Twins transaction page, Daniel Robertson was reeled in on a minor league pact. The right-handed bat appeared briefly with the Giants at the end of the 2020 season, but he was not retained for 2021.
Robertson was originally drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Oakland A's out of Upland High School in Upland, California. The 27-year-old infielder was often regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball, ranking as high as No. 65 according to MLB.Com prior to the 2015 season.
He never put on an A's uniform, but he was a key piece in a deal that sent versatile utilityman Ben Zobrist to Oakland from the Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, teams do not often win trades with the Rays and that initially seemed to be the case with this transaction, too.
In his second season, Robertson posted a 122 OPS+ while being worth 2.8 WAR in 340 plate appearances and playing five different positions in the field. He struggled to follow up that strong performance and found himself on the roster bubble by 2020.
The Rays designated him for assignment midway through the season and the Giants felt it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Robertson was shipped to San Francisco in exchange for cash but it came at an unfortunate cost as Hunter Pence was released to make room on the roster.
The Giants felt like a good landing spot for Robertson. In a very small sample, he collected seven hits in 21 at-bats with three walks. The righty has always demonstrated good plate discipline as he has posted an 11.8 percent walk rate across five major league seasons and that was a trait that appealed to the front office.
However, the Giants were unable to retain him considering that he was out of minor league options and likely would not have made the roster out of camp. The Milwaukee Brewers took a chance on the versatile middle infielder for 2021, but he struggled to the tune of a .577 OPS in 90 plate appearances before being released.
The Twins might be a good fit for Robertson as he is looking for an opportunity to find his footing against major league pitching. The Twins posted a 73-89 overall record in 2021, finishing in fifth place in the American League Central Division. There could be playing time available as Andrelton Simmons was the starting shortstop last year, but he is currently a free agent.
This is not to say that Robertson will take over at shortstop, but to point out that at-bats are available in the Twins lineup. He has potential, but he will need to show off the skill set that once made him a highly regarded prospect.