Chipper Jones is no longer talking about retirement

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Last year Chipper Jones threatened to retire before his contract ran out if he didn’t bounce back from his bad 2009.  So far this season he’s hitting 230/.402/.368 with two homers.  He says that’s good enough for him, however, and that he’s no longer considering hanging it up before 2012.

What’s convincing him: his walk rate. He’s tied for the league lead in walks and has a good on base percentage, and he says that “when I’m drawing walks you know I’m seeing the ball good.”  He made a reference to his RBI totals being a function of not having a lot of people on base in front of him. He’s right about that, of course.

Still, the lack of power is a concern for me. As is, you may be surprised to hear, the batting average.  Yes, OBP is more important, but if he doesn’t start showing that he can actually do something with balls in the strike zone, pitchers will throw away old scouting reports about not giving him anything good to hit and will start challenging him more.  Based on what I’ve seen so far this season, I’m not completely optimistic that he can make them pay if they do.

Still, it’s nice to see the confidence, and the fact that Jason Heyward is back in the lineup tonight and is hitting second (second?! Yes, second) is reason enough for temporary optimism about Chipper Jones’ production.

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.