Following up on last night’s Josh Johnson news, Marlins beat writer Joe Firsario reports that the deal contains a $500,000 bonus for a Cy Young award and a $50,000 bump in the extremely likely event that he makes the All-Star game. I mean, yeah, Hanley Ramirez will be your designated Marlins representative in the All-Star Game for the foreseeable future, but they choose like 112 pitchers anymore, so Johnson can probably spend that 50K now if he wants to. There’s a $1 million bonus for him being the World Series MVP too. I would mock that, but I wasn’t expecting 1997 or 2003, so I’m out of the hate-on-the-Marlins-chances business.
Maybe more significantly, Johnson himself confirmed in a radio interview last night that the deal does not contain a no-trade clause. Given the young man’s skills and promise, and given that this is still a pretty manageable contract for an ace, you can’t rule out the Marlins shopping him at some point, gun-to-their-head or not.
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.