UPDATE: It’s a done deal.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Philadelphia has had “serious discussions” with Juan Pierre, which might frighten Phillies fans if not for the fact that he says they talked about a minor-league deal.
Pierre has been an everyday player for the past decade and got 711 plate appearances for the White Sox last season, but he hit just .279 with a .329 on-base percentage and .327 slugging percentage, posting a sub-.700 OPS for the fourth time in five years.
He remains an asset defensively in left field, but is no longer one in center field and was thrown out on 17 of 44 steal attempts, so presumably every team has realized that Pierre is no longer a starting-caliber player. In a bench role, however, he could still bring some positive value to the table.
Of course, Domonic Brown may feel differently.
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.