Bengie Molina never officially announced his retirement while sitting out the 2011 season, but he got a proper sendoff when his wife threw him a surprise retirement party Saturday, CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly reports.
Albert Pujols, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Ervin Santana were among the guests at the bash, designed to celebrate the career of the eldest Molina brother. Pujols and catchers Ramon Hernandez and Miguel Montero showed up even though they were never teammates with Molina.
“It was a special night,” Molina said. “I can’t thank enough all the people that came. At some point they touched my life and helped me be who I am right now.”
Molina, 37, never signed for 2011 after finishing splitting 2010 between San Francisco and Texas. He was on the losing side when those two teams met in the World Series, but he got a ring anyway for the contributions he made with the Giants. He finished his career with a .274/.307/.411 line, 144 homers and 711 RBI in 1,362 games over 13 seasons.
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.