Chicago Cubs Sign Outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Minor League Deal

Andrew MartinCorrespondent IIIApril 3, 2013

Sweeney can play anywhere in the outfield.
Sweeney can play anywhere in the outfield.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs made a move to improve their outfield depth Wednesday, signing outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a minor league contract.

The signing was first reported by’s Evan Drellich.

The story was confirmed by’s Dan Duquette Jr.

The 28-year-old left-handed Sweeney is a strong defender at all three outfield positions. Despite his 6’4”, 225-pound frame, he has never been a power hitter.

He has played parts of seven major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox, hitting a combined .280 with 14 home runs and 185 RBI in 535 games.

He played with the Red Sox last season after coming over in an offseason trade from Oakland.

He appeared in 60 games with Boston, hitting .260 with 15 RBI. But, he missed significant time by breaking his wrist punching a door after being robbed of a hit by a diving outfielder against the Detroit Tigers.

Returning to Boston on a minor league deal this past offseason, he recently requested his release after being informed he would not make the team out of spring training.

Sweeney told Drellich that he isn’t angry with how his time with the Red Sox ended, but wishes there had been a different outcome, explaining:

[I’m] just frustrated with the situation with how it happened, not making the team and stuff like that. Hindsight's always 20-20 signing with a team and being a free agent. I don't regret signing with them. I just wish things had worked out a little different.

It appears that part of the reason Sweeney chose the Cubs was the potential for playing time. Other than left fielder Alfonso Soriano, Chicago has a patchwork outfield consisting of David DeJesus, Scott Hairston, Dave Sappelt and Nate Schierholtz; none of whom are particularly known for their offense or defense.

Sweeney’s told Drellich that he hopes to be back in the majors soon, “They [Chicago] want me to go get some at-bats and hopefully I'll be up pretty quick."

Coming off a 61-101 record in 2012, the Cubs are in full rebuilding mode. That process can often start with acquiring the right role players, and the team may have just brought one on board with their signing of Sweeney.

Statistics via Baseball-Reference