Jon Paul Morosi spoke with Nationals owner Mark Lerner, and Lerner made it pretty clear that, when it comes to the trade deadline and, more generally, improving the team, money is no real object:
“We’ve never let dollars get in the way of us making decisions that will help this organization … That will always be our philosophy. We don’t look at it like a $100 million benchmark, or $90 million, or $120 million. We try to do smart things … There’s never been a question of this organization spending money. It was when to spend it.”
Lerner goes on to say that the Nats aren’t terribly interested in rental players, which means that they would consider taking on a guy with a large, multi-year deal.
Not too many teams ever fit that description at the deadline, so the Nats may very well alter the usual mid-to-late July dynamic in that regard.
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.