The Reds are still looking at Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher

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Aroldis Chapman has pitched exclusively in relief this season, but Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he still sees him as a starting pitcher in the long-term.

“I can’t guarantee anything because it will be an organizational decision,” Price said. “However, I do think at some point he’s going to have a chance to start. I think it’s something we will definitely be looking at.”

Chapman has a 3.89 ERA and 62/34 K/BB ratio over 41 2/3 innings this season. This includes a 2.36 ERA and 47/12 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings since returning from shoulder fatigue in late-June.

There’s little doubt that Chapman has a chance to be much more valuable as a starting pitcher in the long-term, but the Reds could have a void at closer depending on what they decide to do with Francisco Cordero. He is in the final guaranteed year of a four-year, $46 million contract, which includes a $12 million option for 2012 or a $1 million buyout. Nick Masset once looked like the heir apparent for the ninth inning, but has a disappointing 4.04 ERA and 56/28 K/BB ratio over 62 1/3 innings this season.

 

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.