Lefty specialists are always in demand, but it’s March 4 and Mike Gonzalez is still a free agent because he’s refusing to lower his asking price.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Gonzalez rejected a minor league contract offer that was presented to him last week by the Rangers.
The deal would have included an invitation to spring training, but it would not have guaranteed Gonzalez a major league salary nor a 25-man roster spot. So for now, the 33-year-old southpaw is holding out for something better.
Gonzalez registered a disappointing 4.39 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 53 1/3 innings last season between Baltimore and Texas, though he did hold left-handed batters to a .214/.264/.311 slash line.
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.