Octavio Dotel promised the chance to be Blue Jays’ closer

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It won’t be official until he takes a physical exam next week, but yesterday the Blue Jays signed Octavio Dotel to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with a $3.5 million option or $750,000 buyout for 2012.

Dotel could have signed with any number of teams as a setup man, but according to his agent in addition to matching Dotel’s salary from 2010 the Blue Jays also promised him a chance to be their closer.

“Octavio is excited about playing for a team that will give you the opportunity to close games in the strongest division in baseball,” Dominic Torres told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com.

Kevin Gregg served as the Blue Jays’ closer last season, saving 37 games with a 3.51 ERA, but he’s expected to sign a multi-year deal with the Orioles. Dotel certainly picked the right spot if he wants to close again and he still has dominant raw stuff at age 37, averaging double-digit strikeouts per nine innings for the fourth straight season, but he’s also served up 32 homers in 224 innings during that time and his struggles to keep the ball in the ballpark could make for some messy ninth innings against the powerful AL East lineups.

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.