Carlos Silva’s shoulder problems took him out of the running for a spot in the Red Sox’s rotation and manager Bobby Valentine indicated today that Aaron Cook is also unlikely to win the fifth-starter competition while recovering from shoulder problems of his own.
Valentine replied “I doubt it” when asked if Cook would have enough time to build up his arm strength, although he also told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the team still views Cook as a starter option eventually.
Silva and Cook being out of the mix leaves Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront, and Vicente Padilla battling for one spot. Aceves would be the obvious choice, assuming the Red Sox don’t feel they need him more in the bullpen.
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.