The past 24 hours have seen a lot of movement on the pitching coach front, with John Farrell taking the Blue Jays’ manager job, the Yankees firing Dave Eiland, and Curt Young leaving the A’s with an eye toward joining the Diamondbacks.
Despite the sudden rash of prominent pitching coach openings one of the best of all time, Dave Duncan, has decided to remain with Tony La Russa and the Cardinals, agreeing to a two-year deal today.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Duncan insisted on a multi-year deal and the Cardinals eventually gave in after initially saying they only wanted to give one-year commitments to La Russa’s coaching staff. La Russa will be working on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2012, but Duncan’s contract is a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2013.
Strauss also notes that Mark McGwire is leaning toward returning as hitting coach after saying previously that he’d consider stepping down due to family reasons. If he does return, McGwire is expected to receive the same one-year deal that all non-Duncan coaches get.
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.