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Who and why is Ben Paulsen?

The huge news broke sometime Sunday night that the Twins signed Ben Paulsen to a minor league contract—but who is he, and why is he here?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Winter Meetings are underway this week, meaning we’re likely to see some sizzling action happen on the off-season hot stove. In fact, the Twins wasted no time, signing Ben Paulsen to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

If the name “Ben Paulsen” isn’t ringing any bells, join the club.

So who is he? He’s apparently a 29-year-old first baseman and outfielder who has played for the Rockies the past three seasons. His most significant time there came in 2015 when he appeared in 116 games, batting .277/.326/.462 with 11 home runs. He only appeared in 30-some major league games in 2014 and 2016, and spent the bulk of last year in triple-a, where he hit .278/.331/.434 with six home runs in 78 games.

Unsurprisingly, Paulsen has some pretty big home/away splits from his time in the majors, due to Coors Field being all high-altitudey. He’s also spent the majority of his major league career hitting against right-handers, as 458 of his 517 total plate appearances are against righties.

As for personal life, Paulsen was born in Wisconsin, but raised in Alabama and Georgia. Like his father, he went to college and played baseball at Clemson University. The Rockies drafted him in the third round of the 2009 draft, but outrighted him off their 40-man roster last September.

So why is he here? Well, why not? This is an extremely low-risk move by the Twins, so there really isn’t anything to complain about. He’s basically a Logan Shafer or Robbie Grossman type fourth outfielder who can provide some minor league depth at first base too.

His name just isn’t as cool as Logan or Grossman. So what should we call him instead?