Doug Fister got DL’d. But don’t worry: that’s the kind of problem the Tigers pay Jim Leyland the big bucks to address. So Jim, what’s the plan here, dude?
“I have no clue who’s gonna start, absolutely none,” Leyland said Sunday morning. “Villarreal has joined the team and we will have a starter at the appropriate time. Who it is, I have no clue. None.”
That may be disconcerting to Tigers fans, but really, you have to figure that Leyland has some idea, right? I mean if Eric Wedge said something like that it might be cause for concern, but Leyland is on it. Right? Hopefully?
As Jason Beck notes in the linked blog post, there are a number of internal candidates and there is always the option for a trade. Or signing Roy Oswalt, which I think will be mentioned by everyone every single time a team loses a starter this year.
It seems to me, though, that the Tigers are gonna have a bigger margin of error than anyone this season, so going with a minor league arm — or a carousel of them — is probably the best first step.
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.