Jered Weaver’s new five-year, $85 million extension with the Angels has set the market for young aces nearing free agency and Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer speculates that that Phillies may try to sign Cole Hamels to a similar contract.
Weaver is a year older than Hamels, but in terms of service time they’re identical. Hamels, like Weaver, is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.
They also have identical 3.39 career ERAs, with Weaver logging 1,084 innings compared to 1,117 innings for Hamels. Since the beginning of last season Weaver has thrown 413 innings with a 2.60 ERA, while Hamels has thrown 381 innings with a 2.86 ERA.
Gelb notes that Hamels has the edge in terms of postseason performance and his higher 2011 salary could push the baseline of a potential deal up slightly compared to Weaver, but if the Phillies want to lock up their elite young starter $85 million for five seasons is a good place to kick off negotiations.
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.