Jose Lopez and $3.6 million salary designated for assignment by Rockies

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Back in December the Mariners were expected to non-tender Jose Lopez rather than risk giving him a raise on last year’s $3 million salary via arbitration following a season in which he hit just .239 with a ghastly .279 on-base percentage and .609 OPS.

Instead the Rockies stepped in at the last minute and traded minor-league pitcher Chaz Roe to the Mariners for Lopez, tendering him a contract and eventually settling on a $3.6 million salary for 2011.

Lopez has been even worse in Colorado, hitting just .208 with a .233 on-base percentage and .521 OPS through 38 games, and now the Rockies have designated him for assignment.

Because he’s still owed about $2.5 million Lopez is highly unlikely to be claimed off waivers, which means the Rockies will likely stash him at Triple-A or eat most of that salary to facilitate a trade. He was an All-Star at age 22, but Lopez now looks washed up at age 27.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.