Last week I wrote about the Dodgers’ impressive pitching depth, noting that their sixth starter likely headed to the bullpen, Vicente Padilla, could be the third starter on a lot of teams.
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet and that depth may already have vanished, as Padilla has left Dodgers camp and returned to Los Angeles to undergo an MRI exam following elbow soreness that the team’s official Twitter feed describes as “similar pains as last year.”
Padilla missed about two months of last season with an elbow injury, heading to the disabled list in mid-April after beginning the season with a 6.65 ERA through four outings. He had a 3.31 ERA in 12 starts after returning in mid-June and then re-signed with the Dodgers for just $3 million in guaranteed money and the chance to earn twice that much in incentives.
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.