From the moment the Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel to be their new starting left fielder general manager Kevin Towers has insisted that the team is merely benching Gerardo Parra, not actually looking to trade him.
Towers stuck with that stance yesterday, telling Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that despite other teams scouting Parra he’s not interested in parting with the fourth-year outfielder who won a Glove Glove last season while hitting .292 with a .784 OPS in 141 games. In fact, he hasn’t even “had any discussions” with other teams about Parra.
That’s a tough break for Parra, because unless Kubel, Chris Young, or Justin Upton go down with an injury he’ll be relegated to a part-time role at age 25. Gilbert speculates that if Towers changes his mind and does start fielding offers for Parra he’ll be looking for long-term catching help with Miguel Montero an impending free agent.
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.