Cardinals exercise $16 million option on Albert Pujols for 2011

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In the least surprising news since I said yes when offered a donut yesterday the Cardinals just officially exercised their 2011 option on Albert Pujols.
Instead of buying him out for $5 million (ha!) they’ll pay the best hitter in baseball $16 million while praying that he decides to remain in St. Louis for the long haul at some point before hitting the open market 13 months from now.
Because the Cardinals missed the playoffs Pujols is unlikely to garner a ton of MVP support from voters, but he hit .312/.414/.596 while leading the league with 42 homers, 118 RBIs, and 115 runs. He also ranked second to Joey Votto in OPS. In other words, he had another MVP-caliber season.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.