Matsui, Angels agree on 1-year deal

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Craig noted earlier that the Angels were in “serious discussions” with World Series MVP Hideki Matsui.

It turns out that the serious discussions will result in a serious relationship, as the New York Times reports that the sides have agreed on a one-year deal that will be announced as soon as Matsui passes his physical.

Matsui decided to take the Angels’ offer rather than wait and see if the Yankees would bring him back. It was probably a wise move by Matsui, because while the Yankees never closed the door to his return, they have been very wary of making a commitment. Matsui will receive $6.5 million from the Angels, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

This isn’t going to bother the Yankees at all. They clearly prefer Johnny Damon to Matsui, and with Curtis Granderson added to the mix that already included Nick Swisher, Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner (if he isn’t traded), and probably Damon, Matsui was smart enough to see the writing on the wall.

As for the Angels, it looks like they’ve found an OF/DH replacement for Vladimir Guerrero. Matsui is no spring chicken – he’s actually about eight months older than Guerrero. But he did manage 28 home runs last year, and with Guerrero seemingly aging faster than the Thanksgiving leftovers still sitting in my fridge, they must like Matsui’s upside better in a short-term deal.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

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.