Nationals, Pirates, O’s interested in lefty Jorge De La Rosa

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The market for left-hander Jorge De La Rosa is heating up.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Nationals, Pirates and Orioles have been the most aggressive suitors thus far and other teams are expected to join the fray.

The Nats have been on the hunt for a reliable long-term starter since their move to the nation’s capital and have shown a willingness to offer large free agent contracts in the past.

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick says that Washington GM Mike Rizzo met with De La Rosa’s agent down in Orlando, Florida this week and it seems like the two sides have mutual interest.  Rizzo has also been in touch with the representatives for Cliff Lee, but that still looks like a two-team race between the Rangers and Yankees.

Thought of as this offseason’s second-most valuable free agent starter, De La Rosa is likely to cash in despite the pedestrian 4.22 ERA and 1.33 WHIP that he registered over 122 2/3 frames for the Rockies this past season.

The Pirates have reportedly made him their primary offseason target and the O’s boast enough financial resources to strike a deal.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.