Red Sox, Indians still targeting Ubaldo Jimenez

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According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Red Sox are “aggressively pursuing” Ubaldo Jimenez, while others think the Indians are a “big threat” to land the Rockies right-hander.

Heyman says the Reds and Blue Jays also remain interested and that the Yankees are lurking.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark, on the other hand, reports that the Yankees’ interest “seems to be waning” and that they may now be focused more on Hiroki Kuroda.

From the Rockies’ perspective, the Indians might be a more attractive suitor than the Red Sox.  In Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, they have two pitching prospects superior to any that Boston can offer.  Not that they’d necessarily be willing to part with both.  But they can build an offer around one of the two and maybe outfielder Nick Weglarz.  They’d almost certainly have the best shot of landing Jimenez if they were willing to trade one of the two pitchers and either third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall or second baseman Jason Kipnis.

The Red Sox can’t match that top-level talent, not after trading both Anthony Rizzo and Casey Kelly for Adrian Gonzalez over the winter.  They do have a lot of depth, though, and they could potentially offer the Rockies four or five significant prospects for Jimenez and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs.

An Ubaldo trade looked like a long shot a week ago, and it’s still likely less than 50/50 to get done.  But the way the rumors are heating up suggests that the odds have gotten shorter these last 48 hours.

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.