The Minnesota Twins haven’t done much this offseason. Okay, they’ve really only done one thing thus far and that was Monday’s signing of Jeff Clement. Are you wondering who Jeff Clement is? Don’t worry I’m here for you.
Let’s go back to the 2005 MLB Draft. The third pick belonged to the Seattle Mariners and they chose the All-American catcher out of the University of Southern California, Jeff Clement.
This was Clement’s second time being drafted, as he was selected in the 12th round of the 2002 by the Minnesota Twins right out of high school, but elected to go to USC instead.
So what’s been happening in Jeff Clement’s life since being drafted third overall? On the baseball field, not a whole lot.
Clement has appeared in 152 games at the Major League level. It’s not a whole lot better when you realize that these 152 games have been split up between four different seasons: nine games in 2007, 66 in 2008, 54 in 2010 and 23 in 2012. His career numbers don’t look nice either: .218 batting average, 39 RBI, and 14 home runs in those 152 games.
That’s not exactly the production you want from the third selection in the MLB Draft or an All-American. Something obviously hasn’t translated greatly for Clement in his transition from USC to the MLB.
After stops with the Seattle Mariners and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clement has signed with the original team who wanted him all the way back in 2002. Ten years later, he doesn’t have quite the same sex appeal for the Minnesota Twins organization, but it’s still a good move.
Jeff Clement was signed to a minor league deal, so he won’t cost the Twins a whole lot of money, plus he still has potential at 29 years old.
If you doubt how well he can do, just look at former Twin, R.A. Dickey. After a mediocre career (granted better than Clement’s career), Dickey went out in 2012 and won the National League Cy Young award at the age of 37.
I’m not saying that Jeff Clement will win the MVP or go to the All-Star game, but he still has the potential to do something for the squad.
To make a Minnesota comparison, take the Minnesota Timberwolves and Brandon Roy. It appears that Roy’s knees are shot, but the Wolves wanted to take the risk and why not? Roy’s contract is so incentive-based he costs the Timberwolves little if he doesn’t play another game this season.
That’s what Jeff Clement is for the Minnesota Twins. He is no risk and very high reward. Worst-case scenario is Clement sits in the minors all year and we never hear about him again. Best-case scenario is he impresses during spring training or in the minors and finds himself on the bench making a nice contribution to the Twins.
Clement plays first base and catcher, two spots the Twins have full at the moment, but also two spots with a little bit of an injury history. Clement has also been a DH and a pinch hitter for a good portion of his career, especially over in the NL with the Pirates.
This signing could be nothing, this signing could be everything. Don’t put your eggs in the Jeff Clement basket, but just remember the name. He might just surprise us.