We heard yesterday that the Mariners would be interested in Daisuke Matsuzaka if he were on the market. They can forget it though, because Theo Epstein is pleased with him:
“To look where we were with him in March, and where we are now, I think we feel a lot better about it now. Along the way there’s been consistent velocity that we hadn’t seen the
last couple years, and some improvement in the secondary stuff, even as
recently as his last couple starts, so again more positive signs to take
into the winter.”
Another, unnamed Sox source tells WEEI’s Alex Speier that Dice-K is “very much” part of the Sox’ plans going forward.
So M’s fans: you’re just going to have to lose any fantasies you harbored about Matsuzaka bringing his particular brand of excitement to Safeco.
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.