A couple of weeks ago Stephen Strasburg said that he just wanted to be normal. One of the guys. To take his starts out from under the microscope and have them just sort of blend into the flow of the season. I presume he’ll get there one day, but for 2012, it seems, he’s still going to be something of a special case, as the Nationals have decided to put him on an innings limit.
Which is smart, by the way, even if it will lead to a lot of talk about whether the Nats are using him optimally and all of that. Talk which will be especially acute if, as many suspect, the Nats play a bigger role in the playoff chase next year.
But the thing is, they stand a great chance of making serious noise in the NL East beyond 2012 as well, and to that end it makes all kinds of sense to make sure that his reconstructed elbow builds to proper strength and endurance. So yeah, cut him off at 150-160 innings or so and then, in 2013, show the rest of the league the fully armed and operational Stephen Strasburg.
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.