Paul Hoynes offers a couple of tidbits in his latest article about the Indians. first:
. . . the $2.53 million the Indians spent on big-league free agents last winter — $850,000 for Mike Redmond and $1.5 million for Russell Branyan — may look like a lavish spending spree compared to this winter.
Here’s what the Indians need: a third baseman, a starting pitcher, a right-handed hitting outfielder as a change of pace to projected left-handed starters Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore, a right-handed set-up man to provide another eighth-inning option to lefties Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp and an experienced infielder to fortify the middle of the diamond.
Antonetti has talked to the agents for Jake Westbrook, the veteran starter the Indians traded to St. Louis in July.
No money + multiple needs does not = Jake Westbrook, who may be one of the more sought-after pitchers on the free agency market.
But at least Antonetti is keeping in touch with old friends.
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.