So much for Aaron Crow’s transition from reliever to starter.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals have decided to cancel those plans and move Crow back to the bullpen following Joakim Soria’s elbow injury.
Soria was diagnosed with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament and might be headed for Tommy John surgery, which would move Jonathan Broxton or Greg Holland into the closer role and create a setup man opening for Crow.
Crow made the All-Star team as a rookie reliever last season and finished with a 2.76 ERA and 65/31 K/BB ratio in 65 innings, but the 25-year-old right-hander was a starter in college and the minors. However, he posted a 5.26 ERA in 32 starts as a minor leaguer and there was some skepticism about whether Crow had the off-speed stuff to thrive as a starter. And now we may never find out.
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.