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Who is John Andreoli, and why is he here?

The Twins just traded for the guy, but who is he?

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In case you missed it, the Twins traded Michael Reed to the Giants yesterday in exchange for John Andreoli (and some cash. Gotta worry about Pohlad’s cash.) Basically, this was the team swapping a mediocre outfielder with no options left for a mediocre outfielder with options left. Not a bad idea, considering the fact that Reed would likely have been claimed on waivers anyhow.

Andreoli appeared in 26 games in 2018, as a rookie, and therefore still retains his rookie eligibility. He’s been well-traveled, despite that. Originally drafted by the Cubs in 2011, Andreoli signed with Seattle as a free agent prior to the 2018 season. In August, he was placed on waivers and claimed by Baltimore. Baltimore put him on waivers in October, and the Mariners took him back. He was then waived again in January and picked up by the Texas Rangers. The Rangers, in turn, waived him a couple weeks later, when he was claimed by the Giants. That gets us caught up to the present time. The Twins organization will be Andreoli’s sixth professional baseball stop. He appeared in games for both the Mariners and Orioles, which means if he gets called up to the Twins, he will be a rare rookie to be playing for a third MLB team. With three options remaining, the 29-year old outfielder can be safely assigned to Rochester.

Last season, split across his two teams, Andreoli was essentially a replacement level player (-.1 WAR.) He did not hit for a lot of power, and put up a .230/.284/.262 batting line. While his primary position was left field, he appeared at all three outfield positions, as well as designated hitter. He wielded an adequate glove, in an admittedly small sample size.

ZiPS projects Andreoli to hit .224/.311/.331 with six home runs in 115 games this season — that was also with another organization, which is in rebuilding mode, and had more at bats for a marginal outfielder.

Andreoli is also the cousin of 2012 Twins first-round draft pick Luke Bard, who is now in the Angels organization.

With the recent departure of Zack Granite from the organization, there will be plenty of at-bats for a Triple-A outfielder for the Twins. Besides Andreoli, the only other outfielders currently listed on Rochester’s roster are LaMonte Wade Jr and someone named John Kemmer. While that is likely to change, clearly the organization needed another body, and Andreoli also provides some injury insurance at the MLB level. Since Buxton lost last season to injury, and both Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario were banged up a bit as well, this could be important at some point.

As for Michael Reed, he should get a MLB opportunity in San Francisco, as the Giants outfield situation is still very much in flux. Brian Murphy of McCovey Chronicles projects that the Giants will start the season with Reed as a bench bat, but you probably haven’t heard of many of the other guys in their outfield.

Most importantly, trading Reed, who was out of options, for Andreoli, who still has options remaining likely means that Jake Cave has won the fourth outfielder battle for the Twins. It could also signal that the Twins intend to start the season with only three true outfielders, sending both Cave and Andreoli to triple-A. In that case, Marwin Gonzalez would likely cover a day off for the starting trio, with Willians Astudillo or Ehire Adrianza standing in at the hot corner. In any case, the Twins have prized flexibility this offseason, and Andreoli gives them more of that, compared to Reed. While this is a minor trade, it continues to fit the story being woven.