Mets will give D.J. Carrasco a chance to earn rotation spot

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When the Mets signed D.J. Carrasco to a two-year, $2.5 million deal earlier this month the assumption was that they’d use him as a middle reliever, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that he’ll likely be given a chance to claim a rotation spot in spring training.

Carrasco has experience as a starter in both the majors and minors, but he really found significant success in the big leagues only after shifting to the bullpen full time in 2008. For his career Carrasco is 5-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 23 starts compared to 18-10 with a 4.03 ERA in 221 relief appearances.

His role will ultimately depend on whether the Mets are able to sign a low-cost veteran starter or two from what’s left on the free agent market and Carrasco’s versatility gives them an additional option, but keeping the 34-year-old right-hander in a bullpen role would probably be the right decision.

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.