Jason Bartlett will retire after ten seasons in the Major Leagues, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The Twins have asked him to reconsider, but it isn’t likely, Berardino adds.
Bartlett, 34, joined the Twins on a minor league deal over the off-season suffered an ankle injury on April 7 after replacing Josh Willingham, who was also injured. He was used almost exclusively as a shortstop throughout his career, showing adept defense despite not doing much with the bat. Over 3,521 career plate appearances, Bartlett has a career .702 OPS.
We at Hardball Talk wish Bartlett the best as he heads into retirement.
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.