This may not be the Yankees’ biggest move of the day, but it is notable that the club promoted its top pitching prospect, left-hander Manny Banuelos, to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday.
Banuelos, who becomes the International League’s youngest player at age 20, was 4-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a 94/52 K/BB ratio in 95 1/3 innings for Double-A Trenton. He was inconsistent with his command, but he went the first two months of the season without giving up a homer and left-handers hit just .229 off him.
Because of Banuelos’ success against left-handers, there’s some speculation that he could be called up to serve as a member of the Yankee pen down the stretch. He turned some heads by flashing dominant stuff in one-inning appearances this spring, and the Yankees do need some help from the left side.
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.