A rare twofer on the BSOHL beat. From the mouth of Ned Yost in Bob Dutton’s notes column from yesterday’s KC Star, talking about how a ton of guys are already in Royals camp despite it still being ten days from the mandatory reporting date:
“There are a ton of position players here, too. Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas — I’m extremely proud of both of those guys. They are in the best shape they’ve been in their career. Billy looks great, and I hardly recognized Moose, he looks so good.”
Of course Mike Moustakas is 23 years-old and has a grand total of five professional seasons under his belt, so I would hope he was pretty close to the best shape of his career as it was. But really, good for him.
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.