Buster Posey's callup is a play for the present and the future

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Henry Schulman asks if the Giants’ surprise callup of Buster Posey is designed to “light a fire” under Bengie Molina.  Call me crazy, but when you’re in a tight race for the final playoff spot, your starting catcher is hurt, and your team’s best prospect, also a catcher, just put up a .900+ OPS across two levels of minor league baseball at the age of 22, maybe the reason to call him up is less about psychological motivation and more about, you know, winning ballgames. Indeed, given Molina’s .281 OBP and the Giants’ desperate need for offense, Posey may be the guy to play even if Molina’s fire is sufficiently lit and he’s able to play more.

But I’ll grant that there’s a more subtle play involved here. It just doesn’t involve Molina’s psyche. It involves his contract, in that he won’t — or at least shouldn’t — be offered one for 2010 if Posey shows that he can handle the job this month.

I have spent a lot of time over the past few years slamming Brian Sabean for doing shortsighted things. With the Posey callup, however, he is wisely looking to the future. What’s more, assuming Posey is anything other than a total loss at the plate at the big league level these next few weeks, this future play won’t do any violence to present interests either.

I don’t believe I’m saying this, but: Well played, Mr. Sabean.

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.