Cardinals re-sign backup catcher Jason LaRue

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Jason LaRue and the Cardinals have agreed to a one-year deal that will keep him backing up Yadier Molina in 2010.
Molina is one of the best, most durable catchers in baseball, so barring a major injury LaRue’s role will again be extremely limited. He appeared in just 51 games this season, logging a grand total 112 plate appearances and 254 innings, and worked just slightly more in 2008.
LaRue is 35 years old and hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2005, batting just .194/.286/.323 during that time, so he’s among the worst hitters in baseball. But so are most backup catchers.
His strong arm behind the plate is an asset, but most of all the Cardinals apparently just like having him (and his tremendous facial hair) around and know that if Molina were to be sidelined for a significant chunk of time they’d probably swing a trade or turn to prospect Bryan Anderson anyway.

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.