Report: Felipe Lopez passes on pennant race, signs with Red Sox

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Earlier today, it sounded like the Padres were going to have Felipe Lopez for the stretch drive. Not anymore.

According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, Lopez has “vetoed” the Padres’ waiver claim and signed on to play a meaningless week of baseball with the Red Sox, instead.

Lopez, 30, was released by the Cardinals this week after batting just .231/.310/.340 with seven home runs, 36 RBI and eight stolen bases over 376 at-bats. The team initially said he was released in order to play some of their younger players, however Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak later admitted that Lopez repeatedly showed up late to games.

It’s certainly an odd match, especially with the Padres in the middle of a pennant race, but one industry source tells Miller that the Red Sox signed him with the idea of a compensatory draft pick in mind. You see, Lopez currently projects to be a Type B free agent this winter. Should the Red Sox offer him arbitration and see him sign with another team, they would receive a supplemental pick in next year’s draft.

There’s always the chance that Lopez will accept arbitration, given that he doesn’t have the best reputation around the game, but at least the Red Sox have several weeks to mull over the possibility. 

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.