MINNEAPOLIS -- After sustaining so many injuries over the
years chasing down line drives in the outfield, Rondell White
welcomes the idea of becoming an everyday designated hitter.
White agreed Thursday to a contract with the Minnesota Twins
that guarantees the 33-year-old $3.25 million for one year and
could be worth up to $8.5 million over two seasons if he plays
"He's at a point in his career where the DH is suited to his
ability," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "Our main
objective is to keep his bat in the lineup."
White, who spent the last two seasons in Detroit, should help
make up for the loss of right fielder Jacque Jones, who agreed to a
three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
White hit .313 with 12 homers and 53 RBI in 97 games for the
Tigers last season, but the outfielder missed most of the year with
shoulder ailments. White was on the DL eight times from 1996-2001
and didn't play much during the final two months in 2004 because of
a hip injury.
His deal calls for a $2.5 million salary next year and includes
a club option for 2007 with a $750,000 buyout. The option would
become guaranteed if White has 400 plate appearances next year,
with the price of the option depending on his plate appearance
total. If he has 650 plate appearances each year, he would get the
full $8.5 million.
"I hope we're paying through the nose," Ryan said.
White was on vacation in Hawaii with his wife when the Twins
called, and he flew to the Twin Cities on Thursday for a physical
the team needed before agreeing to terms.
White said his separated shoulder is 80 percent healthy right
now and will be fully healed by the start of spring training.
"I'm really, really excited about to be in a DH role," said
White, who will wear No. 24. "A lot of good things can happen."
The Twins will need him to stay healthy and provide some pop in
the lineup after Jones, who led the team in home runs last season
with 23, became a free agent, declined salary arbitration and
signed with the Cubs.
"The DH was really made for a situation like this," Ryan said.
"We hope he can take some of the pressure off our younger hitters.
When healthy, White has proven to be a dangerous hitter. He hit
19 homers in 2004 in just 121 games, was an NL All Star in 2003 and
hit a career-high 28 home runs in 153 games with Montreal in 1997.
The Twins have been looking to upgrade their offense after their
light-hitting squad couldn't support one of the AL's best pitching
staffs last season. The Twins batted .259 and ranked dead last in
the AL in scoring, missing the playoffs for the first time in four
Desperate for power at the plate -- the Twins haven't had a
player hit 30 home runs since 1987 -- they also considered signing
Mike Piazza and Frank Thomas, but settled on White.
"It was apparent last year that if we would have hit a little
bit more and executed a little bit better, our win mark would have
been in the 90s," Ryan said.
They traded for second baseman Luis Castillo and also signed
third baseman Tony Batista, who spent last season in Japan, last
week in hopes of bolstering a lineup that also includes Justin
Morneau, Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter.
"Before my career is over, I want to win," White said talking
about the Twins' pitching and new-look lineup. "And that sounds
like a lot of Ws."
Ryan said the Twins have made most of the big moves they are
going to make, but he still hopes to sign a left-handed reliever to
replace the traded J.C. Romero.
"Objectively, it's been a nice winter," Ryan said.