Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan has learned that the Tigers and Justin Verlander are negotiating around a five-year deal in the $75 million range. The holdup at the moment, Passan reports, is that Verlander wants a 6th year guaranteed. Presently, the team and the fireballer are poised for arbitration, where Verlander has requested $9.5 million, while the team is at $6.9 million.
Hard to figure that his deal would or should beat Felix Hernandez’s five-year, $78 million package — which is what would happen if Verlander gets his sixth year — but the Tigers have been known to go over and above what the market suggests on a given player.
And if they do give him more than King Felix, at least one writer will have their back.
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.