I was kind of surprised when I read that the Blue Jays had not retired anyone’s number apart from the league-wide 42 for Jackie Robinson. Then I thought about it and realized that there really hasn’t been any strong candidate for the honor. Dave Stieb, maybe? Hey, we all love the guy, but he doesn’t necessarily scream “eternal honor.” He really screams “this is the best we could do.”
But that changes on July 31st, as the Jays are going to retire Roberto Alomar’s number 12. That is, Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar’s number 12.
Which is both appropriate and cool. Probably the best second baseman of my lifetime. At least the baseball-aware portion of my lifetime. All apologies to Joe Carter, but Alomar was easily the most important player on those 1992-93 Jays teams. A great choice for the first time the honor is to be used in Toronto.
Next up: Kelly Gruber.
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.