Stat-head setup man? Daniel Bard reads Fan Graphs

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In general pitchers seem much more willing to embrace sabermetrics than position players, as guys like Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister, and Max Scherzer have been vocal about their interest in and reliance on various new-school numbers.

Daniel Bard joined that club yesterday by admitting to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he visits Fan Graphs to check out their “shutdowns” and “meltdowns” stats, which are interesting new ways to evaluate relievers.

Bard is one of the best non-closer relievers in baseball, so it makes sense that he’d be interested in a stat that attempts to evaluate relievers based on something other than save totals. Last season Bard ranked fourth among all MLB relievers with 38 “shutdowns” compared to 10 “meltdowns.”

As he told Abraham: “People should Google it, it’s interesting. It’s just another way to look at things.”

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.