Stubbs, Breslow join Twins on Minors deals

Stubbs, Breslow join Twins on Minors deals

MINNEAPOLIS -- With less than a week before pitchers and catchers report, the Twins added a pair of veterans on Minor League deals with invites to Spring Training on Wednesday, signing outfielder Drew Stubbs and lefty reliever Craig Breslow.

The signing of Breslow is particularly intriguing, as the 11-year veteran and Yale alum told MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal that he turned down better offers to join the Twins to help with the organization's chemistry and leadership. He also changed his arm angle, which he showcased in late January to roughly 15 teams, including the Twins.

Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey was familiar with Breslow from Breslow's season with the Indians in 2008, and Breslow came away impressed by Falvey after talking with him this offseason, getting sold on the idea of a partnership.

"The thing that resonated the most with me was the idea that I could impact the culture and impact the direction of the organization for longer than potentially my stay there might be," Breslow told Rosenthal. "I think Derek is a really engaging and bright guy with a great vision for the organization. I've got no doubt that he'll be able to be able to bring sustained success. The opportunity to be part of that at this stage of my career is one that is really compelling."

Breslow's pitching experiments led to Twins contract

Breslow, 36, returns to the Twins, as he also pitched in Minnesota from 2008-09. He has a career 3.35 ERA with 419 strikeouts in 535 1/3 innings with the Red Sox, A's, Twins, D-backs, Padres, Indians and Marlins. He pitched with Miami last year, posting a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings.

But he worked to change his arm slot this offseason, coming in at a lower angle, and believes it will help him against lefties. Breslow, though, said it's still a work in progress.

"I would imagine with the changes I've made to my delivery, I'll probably be utilized in getting left-handed hitters out, at least primarily," Breslow said. "I also think that the movement and deception that I've added should make me very capable of handling right-handed hitters."

Stubbs, 32, hit .225/.330/.338 with three homers, nine stolen bases and seven RBIs in 59 games with the Braves, Rangers and Orioles last year. The eight-year veteran, who can play all three outfield positions, is a career .244/.314/.394 hitter with 92 homers, 161 stolen bases and 283 RBIs in 901 games.

He joins outfielders J.B. Shuck and Ben Paulsen as non-roster invites who will compete for a backup role along with players such as Robbie Grossman and Danny Santana. Grossman, though, could even start in left field, as Eddie Rosario has to earn his starting job this spring.

Stubbs' best season came in 2014, when he hit .289/.339/.482 with 15 homers and 20 stolen bases with the Rockies. But he's struggled to build on that year, hitting .207 over the last two seasons. Stubbs, though, provides value with his defense and baserunning, and gives Minnesota outfield depth, as he's likely to open the year at Triple-A Rochester.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.