Chris Sale has worked exclusively out of the bullpen through his first two seasons, establishing himself as a top-notch setup man, but White Sox general manager Ken Williams revealed yesterday that the left-hander will be moved into the starting rotation for 2012.
Sale was drafted as a starter and the White Sox have indicated all along that they viewed the rotation as his eventual home, so with Mark Buehrle looking less and less likely to re-sign it makes sense for the switch to happen now.
Sale has a 2.58 ERA, 111/37 K/BB ratio, and .199 opponents’ batting average in 94 career innings as a reliever, so it’s no doubt tempting to leave well enough alone, but Chicago is smart to see if he’s capable of thriving in a 200-inning role before locking him into a 70-inning role at age 23.
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.