Jon Lester opens up on beer/chicken-gate, Terry Francona

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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe spoke with Jon Lester, who is — as far as I can tell — the first of the Red Sox Fried Chicken Posse to answer the allegations about all of that beer and chicken and those video games and stuff.  Lester was contrite to some degree, but added a healthy dose of reality too:

“There’s a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn’t the case. Was it a bad habit? Yes. I should have been on the bench more than I was. But we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball.”

And he said that the chicken thing was overblown. Said they did it once a month. It was Popeye’s, if you care.

On a more important note, Lester had a lot of interesting things to say about Terry Francona leaving. Which, while respectful and charitable to Francona, suggest that, yeah, he lost control of the clubhouse and it was his time to go.  Click through to read his quotes on that. Pete Abe did a great job tracking Lester down and deserves the clicks.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.