That veteran right-hander Josh Banks signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Tuesday will go unnoticed by most and rightfully so, but there was an interesting footnote to the story: Banks’ deal was negotiated by former major leaguer Gary Sheffield.
“[Sheffield] brought him here,” Baltimore VP of baseball operation Dan Duquette said, “because he sees the opportunity for pitchers to help our major league team. So Gary’s been paying attention, I’ll tell you that.”
According to the Baltimore Sun article, Sheffield also represents Pirates right-hander Jason Grilli.
Sheffield may seem an unlikely agent given his lack of a college education and his occasional clashes with management as a player, but he does have experience: he negotiated his own three-year, $39 million deal with the Yankees in the 2003 offseason.
Sheffield retired from baseball a year ago after sitting out the 2010 season. A nine-time All-Star, he hit .292/.393/.514 with 509 homers and 1,676 RBI in 22 seasons.
Banks, for the record, is 4-8 with a 5.66 ERA in parts of four major league 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.