Report: Royals to land Cuban defector Arguelles

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The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton tweets that the Royals are close to an agreement with Cuban defector Noel Arguelles on a major league contract worth $7 million over five years.
We rated Arguelles as the No. 50 free agent in this year’s crop:

With fellow Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman getting all of the attention, Arguelles could fly under the radar and prove to be a bargain. The southpaw reportedly throws in the low-90s consistently, and while he’s going to need at least one year and probably two in the minors, he’s probably more polished than Chapman.

Odds are that Arguelles will begin his career in the low minors and fail to reach the majors before 2011, but he has the chance to be an impact starter down the line. The Royals are taking a big risk in handing him $7 million, but it seems like a better idea than spending that cash on a couple of veteran stopgaps for 2010.

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.