Adam LaRoche rumors; or, the Winter Meetings in a nutshell

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This is pretty much how it goes all week here:

  • Writer A says that the Washington Nationals are poised to sign Adam LaRoche;
  • Writer B says, no, nothing imminent. There are talks, nothing more, and other teams are still interested.

Then everyone rushes to see who is listed as LaRoche’s agent in order to try to get a comment from him.  Then you stroll around the lobby to try to find the Nationals’ Assistant Associate Vice-Vice-Vice President of Non-Critical Operations to see if you can read any tells off his face when he says “fine” after you ask him how his day is going.

It’s all very scientific, really.

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.