Three weeks ago Brian Fuentes was Oakland’s closer, but that went terribly before he quickly gave way to rookie Ryan Cook in the role and today the A’s designated Fuentes for assignment.
He’s likely to clear waivers because no team wants to take on the remainder of his $5 million salary for this season or $500,000 buyout of a $6.5 million option for next season, although it’s possible the A’s might be able to find a taker via trade if they eat basically all the money.
Fuentes was largely a bust for the A’s after signing a two-year, $10.5 million deal as a free agent, clashing with Bob Geren before the manager was fired and posting a 4.64 ERA in 83 innings overall. He never had traditional closer stuff, instead relying a lot on a deceptive delivery, and at age 36 he may simply be finished as more than a sixth- or seventh-inning guy.
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.