A week ago we mused about whether the Rangers will play the drug addict card in an arbitration with Josh Hamilton. Most signs, however, are pointing to us never finding out, as the Rangers and him are making progress on a deal. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine:
“I would characterize our communication as very open and strong. Needless to say, we may have slightly different opinions, but we’re working through things and with each call we’re making progress.”
The current spread between what the sides are proposing is $3.3 million. You have to figure that a $1.65 million compromise by each side to avoid the headaches that a potentially sticky arbitration might cause.
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.