I found it odd that righty Grant Balfour was brought in to face lefty Curtis Granderson last night — Granderson homered — but I didn’t think much about it. I’m just realizing now that it was a screwup by the Rays: Joe Maddon had apparently wanted lefty Randy Choate, but a
miscommunication with the bullpen left only Balfour warming up. Maddon copped to it as his mistake after the game. Never heard of that one before.
It’s a bit of a different situation, but I do sometimes wonder how, when there are two pitchers warming up in the pen, the guys down there see the manager’s signal
clearly when he goes out to make the change. The situation usually dictates things, of course — a lefty up with a lefty and a righty warming pretty much tells you that the lefty is coming in — but do they ever screw
up and have the wrong guy run out? I can’t remember it happening, but
it had to have happened at some point, right?
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.