Tim Wakefield expects to start

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The Red Sox have John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz, but Tim Wakefield says one of them is going to have to take a back seat to him

“I’ve been right back on track with
my normal offseason routine and I don’t feel like there’s going to be
any setbacks, so I plan on being one of the five starters.”

I’m sure someone in the crowded Boston media landscape will try to turn this into a controversy of some kind (“Wakefield: TAKE A BACK SEAT, BECKETT!”) but such a thing would be silly. For one thing, Wakefield is a knuckleballer, and knuckleballers are totally awesome, so what should really happen is that Beckett, Lackey and Lester should be turned into mop-up men and Wakefield should get something like 54 starts. There. Controversy averted.

Only slightly more likely is that one of the six starters will get hurt or be ineffective at some point this year, rendering the notion that the Sox have a surplus of starters quaint.  Remember last year when the Red Sox allegedly had seven Major League-ready starters to open the season?  Somewhere along the line that turned into Paul Byrd, Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden being pressed into service, so I’m assuming that Wakefield will get plenty of starts in 2010 by simply hanging around.

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.