Manny Acta is fired

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We knew this was going to happen, we just thought it was going to happen sooner:

In the middle of his third season as manager, Manny Acta has been
fired by the Washington Nationals, a source with knowledge of the
situation said tonight. Asked in an e-mail about his job status, Acta
replied, simply, “Thanks for everything.” Acta’s Nationals made it to
the all-star break with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors, finishing
with six losses in their last seven games. During the first half,
Acta’s job status was the subject of much debate, and those in and out
of the organization questioned whether his unfailingly patient approach
matched the needs of a sloppy, error-prone team.

Overall, this is just the latest of several de-Bowdenification moves GM
Mike Rizzo has made with this team. It’s a good move. Acta, for all of
his potential, has not seemed at all inspired in the past few months
and some fresh air is needed. And now is as good a time as any to do
it, mostly because his replacement — who, if previous speculation is
accurate, could be bench coach Jim Riggleman, on an interim basis —
will have a day or two to get his head about him before taking over.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.