Bobby Valentine the “front runner” for the Brewers’ job

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There’s increasing heat to the Bobby Valentine-to-the-Brewers talk. On Saturday Bob Nightengale suggested that it was close to a done deal. Then yesterday Jon Heyman reported that Valentine was at the top of the Brewers’ list.  Heyman went furhter, saying that Joey Cora, Bob Melvin, and Ron Roenicke were second through fourth on the list. Which is kind of odd because I always thought that “the list” was more metaphorical. Maybe the Brewers actually have a numbered ranking system like the Harris poll or something.

We’ve been in “Valentine is the front runner” land multiple times in recent months only to have it not pan out. But given the increasing boldness and certainty to these reports, one has to think that the Brewers have decided on Valentine and are simply waiting for the World Series to end before making things official.

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.