Despite a ton of blown saves and a bloated ERA, Brad Lidge remains optimistic. What’s more, he thinks he know what his problem is:
He said one of the problems had been working with runners on base.
“I haven’t been as effective coming out of the stretch, and that is
what I am working the hardest on. The biggest thing is working on the stretch, and when that
happens, I will be back to where I need to be, and I don’t think that
it’s that far off.”
But Brad: You’re a closer who comes in at the start of the ninth, pitching out of the windup. if the stretch is the problem, how are all those guys getting on base in the first place?
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.