The announced attendance at Wrigley Field this afternoon is 26,292, which according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune is the first time the Cubs have been under 27,000 since 2002.
Worse yet, even that modest total is misleadingly good in terms of actual fans in the seats, as Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that “there’s a fraction of that at Wrigley” to see the Cubs versus Diamondbacks.
Oh, and “one fan has already been booted for running on the field.” No word yet on if they’ll count him as a full person or a half-person in the final tally.
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.