30-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2015 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Sweeney's a classic fifth outfielder. He's played with four teams in nine years in the majors and has never topped six home runs or a .780 OPS, but he keeps chugging away with 200-300 plate appearance...
Ryan Sweeney Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Cubs in October of 2013. Deal includes a club option for 2016.
Sweeney was granted his release Tuesday, ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers reports.
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Ryan Sweeney: MLB Games Played By Position
Ryan Sweeney Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Ryan Sweeney: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Sweeney is a decent, cost-efficient outfield option for a rebuilding Cubs team. He played in 70 games with the squad last year, compiling a .266/.324/.448 slash line with six homers over 192 at-bats. He will compete for a starting job in the spring, but it is more likely he slots in as a fourth or fifth outfielder who could hit 10 home runs if the wind is blowing right. Sweeney will be entering his age-29 season, so if it were going to happen, it would've happened by now.
Sweeney had a characteristic season with Boston in 2012, generating little power and making little impact offensively. He was easily replaced and relegated to the bench by several outfielders over the course of the season, whether it was Daniel Nava, Cody Ross or Scott Podsednik. Sweeney hurt his hand in late July, after punching a clubhouse door, and was eventually placed on the 60-day disabled list and missed the rest of the season. The Red Sox non-tendered him and he became a free agent. The type of free agent that will not get signed until late in the offseason.
You would be hard-pressed to find a player, much less an outfielder, with back-to-back seasons with at least 250 at-bats and exactly one homer and one steal in each season. Look no further, as "Uno" Sweeney turned the trick in 2010 and 2011. Injuries sidelined him again, likely keeping him from the lofty and exclusive 2-2 club. He was sent to the Red Sox along with Andrew Bailey in December, with Josh Reddick part of the package going to the A's. Pending what the Red Sox do over the rest of the offseason, Sweeney will enter the year in a platoon with Darnell McDonald in right field until Ryan Kalish is healthy.
A knee injury once again limited Sweeney, this time putting an end to his season just after the All-Star break. He was hitting a team-leading .294 at the time of his injury, but had hit just one home run in 300 at-bats and swiped just one base. The A's spent the offseason bulking up their offense, acquiring David DeJesus, Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui and leaving very little room in their outfield for Sweeney as a result. He's a reserve outfielder as long as the aforementioned trio and Coco Crisp remain healthy.
Sweeney injured his knee in early June, requiring a DL stint and eventually ending his season a few days early in late September. Sweeney was a regular presence in the A's outfield, but didnít do any one thing particularly well to make him a fantasy asset. He hit just six homers, stole six bases and drove in 53 runs despite nearly 500 at-bats. Hitting in cavernous Oakland makes the prospects of him maintaining a .290-plus batting average somewhat suspect as well, so there's some downside here even though he'll be just 25 years old this season.
Sweeney battled a litany of hand and wrist injuries, sapping his power in the process (just 25 extra base hits in nearly 400 at-bats). He'll get a look as a lineup regular even after the acquisition of Matt Holliday, and could be a cheap source of 10 HR/20 SB potential if he can stay healthy. His past history with occasional wrist problems is enough for us to knock off a buck or two from his value though. As Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus fame likes to say, "Health is a skill."
Sweeney got a brief audition when Jim Thome and Scott Podsednik hit the DL but he was back at Triple-A for good in late May before a wrist injury slowed him down in August. After seemingly taking the next step forward with a .296/.350/.452 season at Triple-A in 2006 Sweeney took a step back in '07 with a .270/.348/.398 line as a 22-year old. Scouts have been waiting for his power to develop since he was drafted but it hasn't shown itself just yet. He's athletic to handle center field in a pinch but doesn't have the bat for a corner outfield spot. Sweeney was traded to Oakland in January as part of the compensation for Nick Swisher. He'll likely find more opportunities to play for the rebuilding A's, even if it's in a less-friendly ballpark.
The White Sox showed extreme patience with struggling center fielder Brian Anderson, allowing him to remain in the big leagues while Sweeney was tearing up Triple-A. The Sox waited until September to bring up Sweeney, and at age 21 he still was one of the youngest players to see action in the majors last year. He showed power and speed in the leadoff spot in Triple-A, but has not been impressive in the minors stealing bases (7 of 14 in 2006). He should be in the thick of a battle for the center field job, and could take over for Scott Podsednik in the leadoff spot, as he did in September.
The offseason purging of the White Sox minor league system, via trades and probable promotions, left Sweeney as its biggest 'name' hitter (although you wouldn't guess it from looking at his 2005 numbers). Any 20-year-old who can hold his own at Double-A is someone to watch, of course, but sooner or later Sweeney is going to have to start adding some power to his arsenal if he wants to get a serious look in the majors.
Manager Ozzie Guillen took a shine to Sweeney during spring training -- even suggesting he'd keep him on the big league roster if he had room -- but instead the 19-year-old put together a solid High-A campaign. He's got a nice swing and some idea of the strike zone, so if the power eventually shows up (and there's plenty of time for it to arrive) he'll be a keeper.
The second rounder in 2003 fell a bit because of a poor showcase performance prior to the draft, and was thought to be a steal in the second round. The 19-year-old could have been have been a pitcher but the club chose to develop him as an outfielder for his classic left-handed stroke. Heís very raw and hasnít shown the power potential may scouts think he possesses. He did damage in Rookie League in 2003 and should begin the season at Low Single-A Kannapolis attempting to refine his skills