Many people were surprised–or perhaps more accurately disappointed–that the Mariners chose not to drop Chone Figgins when they needed a roster spot for Miguel Olivo’s return yesterday. And for those same people manager Eric Wedge has some bad news.
Wedge told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that dropping Figgins “is not even an option for us” because as a utility man “he gives us protection” and “we’ll use him how we see fit to help us win ballgames and go from there.”
Using a player to help a team win games is quite a novel approach, but in reality Figgins has barely gotten off the Mariners’ bench with just seven plate appearances in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, since a big first week Figgins has hit .133 in his last 25 games and is now hitting .186 in 110 games dating back to the beginning of last season. He made $9 million last season, is making $9 million this season, and is owed $8 million in 2013.
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.