As we’ve mentioned before, Shin-Soo Choo is up against South Korea’s mandate that all able-bodied men must serve in the armed forces for two-years prior to turning 30. Choo is 28, and his military obligation is falling concurrently with his arbitration and free agency years. The straight-from-Hollywood-twist: if he can lead the Korean national baseball team to a gold medal in the Asian Games, he’ll likely get out of his commitment. Really, all this is missing is an angle in which he’s teamed with prisoners or something.
Well, the Asian games have gotten underway, and Choo is off to a good start: he hit two two-run homers Saturday as South Korea beat Taiwan, 6-1. Taiwan was the gold medal winner the last time around, so this is probably a good sign for Choo.
And if he fails: he, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder and Grossberger can all escape while the rodeo is ending. Or something.
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.