Apparently feeling that their Garrett quota had been surpassed after claiming Garrett Olson off waivers last week, the Pirates have released Garrett Atkins.
Atkins is just one season removed from being paid $4.5 million by the Orioles, but that was a terrible signing last winter and he appeared in all of 44 games before Baltimore cut bait.
This offseason he managed only a minor-league deal and couldn’t even claim a bench spot on one of the worst teams in baseball, which says the 31-year-old might be just about finished. He hit .129 this spring.
He hit .329 with 29 homers and 120 RBIs in 2006, but Atkins’ production has steadily declined since then and only Coors Field kept that from becoming more obvious sooner. He may still have enough left in the tank to make it back in the majors as a bench bat or platoon player, but Atkins will likely have to prove himself at Triple-A first.
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.