People have been getting rather excited over the possibility of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish coming to America for some time. Recently we learned that, nope, it won’t be in 2011. David Lennon of Newsday reports however that it will happen in 2012.
Interesting, I suppose, but one of the biggest knocks on Darvish is that he’s had a pretty heavy workload in Japan. This season alone he had multiple 150+ pitch outings and at least a half dozen of 135 or more (note: I got that from an NPB tracker post from June; he most likely had more such outings since then). He’s less valuable to Major League teams now than he would have been a couple of years ago because of that, and if he’s similarly abused in 2011 — and if he’s all but gone after the season, why wouldn’t his Japanese manager abuse him all the more? — he might be a shell of his former self by the time he’s posted for the U.S.
Consider me bearish in the extreme on this guy. His ERA has been sparkling, but he’s got more miles on that odometer than U.S. pitchers several years his senior. Buyer beware.
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.