Ryan Dempster actually called the Dodgers himself

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I know most of you are sick of the Ryan Dempster stuff, but I still find all of the things that led to his trade to the Rangers to be interesting. Here’s a new twist to it, reported by Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com: Dempster was so hung up on the Dodgers that Theo Epstein told him to call them himself:

Sources said that Dempster was so hung up on the Dodgers that the Cubs told him to directly call Ned Colletti. Dempster spoke with the Los Angeles general manager just before the deadline – eliminating that possibility – and then accepted a trade to the Texas Rangers.

Epstein’s explanation of this:

“It was an unusual situation,” Epstein said then. “But I think it was helpful to have him there. He could hear firsthand that it probably wasn’t going to happen. If someone really wants to go to a place, you can tell them over and over again it’s probably not going to happen. But unless they’re convinced of that, they may not want to move on to their second choice … There were certain things he needed to hear.”

But sure, Dempster was always willing to go to any contender. He in no way was hung up on the Dodgers. Ahem.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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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.