Fan morale being extremely low in Houston coming off a 56-106 season is certainly understandable, but usually even terrible teams can sell a decent number of tickets for the first couple weeks of the season.
Unfortunately for the Astros that isn’t the case, as yesterday’s attendance was the lowest in the 12-year history of Minute Maid Park … by more than 4,000.
Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle writes that they drew 14,195 fans against the Rockies, which shattered the previous low of 18,594 and is just the third sub-20,000 attendance ever since the ballpark opened in 2000.
And the Astros actually won, taking the series versus Colorado.
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.