Pat Burrell retired last month after a 12-season career, but the 35-year-old former No. 1 overall pick may soon be back with the Giants as a part-time coach and special assistant.
Burrell is currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery, but once he’s healthy general manager Brian Sabean told Chris Haft of MLB.com that “we hope to figure something out” to bring him back into the fold.
Based on reputation alone Burrell might seem like an odd fit for an immediate return to coaching, but Haft writes that “his selective plate approach impressed the Giants and prompted their desire to add him to their staff.”
True enough, as Burrell averaged 92 walks per 162 games during his career and posted a strong .361 on-base percentage despite a sub par .253 batting average. He spent one-and-a-half seasons with the Giants and was part of the championship team in 2010, although he went 0-for-13 in the World Series.
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.