According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers are considering moving Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen for the rest of the regular season and a potential playoff run.
The recent struggles of relievers Yoshinori Tateyama and Koji Uehara are forcing the Rangers’ hand, but Ogando has seemingly hit the wall as a result of a career-high workload. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 5.20 ERA over 55 1/3 innings since the All-Star break and has completed seven innings in a start just twice.
Ogando thrived in a relief role as a rookie with the Rangers last season, posting a 1.30 ERA and 39/16 K/BB ratio over 41 2/3 innings, so this might be the best way to utilize him the rest of the way.
If Ogando is indeed bumped to the bullpen, the Rangers would likely go with C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland as probable starters for the postseason.
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.