Koji Uehara’s inability to keep the ball in the ballpark since coming to the Rangers in a midseason trade with the Orioles has gotten the previously dominant reliever removed from the World Series roster.
Texas also removed fellow reliever Yoshinori Tateyama from the roster, adding right-hander Mark Lowe and catcher Matt Treanor in their place.
Treanor will serve as the Rangers’ third catcher behind Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba, while Lowe will replace Uehara and Tateyama in a low-leverage middle relief role after missing the past month with a hamstring injury. Lowe had a 3.80 ERA and 42/19 K/BB ratio in 45 innings during the regular season.
Uehara’s struggles obviously led to his removal from the roster, but it also speaks to Texas’ exceptional bullpen depth that Uehara and Tateyama aren’t needed after combining to throw 109 innings with a 3.22 ERA and 128/20 K/BB ratio this season. For a lot of teams they’d be the primary late-inning relief options.
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.