Twins deny Orioles permission to interview Mike Radcliff

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None of their top candidates want the job and now the Orioles aren’t being allowed to pursue one of their fallback choices, as Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that the Twins denied them permission to interview Mike Radcliff.

Radcliff has been with the Twins for 25 years as their longtime scouting director and current vice president of player personnel.

On my Twins-centric podcast earlier this week I wondered why Radcliff has rarely been linked to general manager openings in the past despite the Twins’ decade-long run of success for which he’s always given tons of credit.

My assumption upon hearing that the Orioles were interested in Radcliff was that the Twins would let him pursue the job, so their denial is certainly surprising. Or maybe Radcliff just had no interest in the gig and asked the Twins to deny permission.

If the Twins have another poor year Radcliff could be next line to take over as GM in Minnesota, but there’s no indication that Bill Smith is truly on the hot seat yet. As for the Orioles, the list of candidates who’re interested in the job and allowed to interview by their current employer is rapidly shrinking to one name: You guessed it, Frank Stallone.

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.