Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Blue Jays are “particularly interested” in Justin Morneau. Worth noting that no one has reported that the Twins are particularly interested in trading him, but I suppose these things gotta start someplace.
As for the Jays or anyone else interested in Morneau: his power is OK as he has ten homers and is slugging .489, but he’s also hitting a mere .241 with a .313 OBP overall, suggesting he’s nailing mistakes but not much else. He’s hammering righties, but lefties are like kryptonite to him: he’s 6 for 62 against them. And he’s owed $14 million in 2013. Not sure that’s an attractive gamble for anyone.
And while we’re on the subject, here’s a feature about Morneau from Jeff Passan, outlining his struggles and his hope to regain his past form.
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.