It was a long time coming, but the Reds announced Tuesday that they’d retire Barry Larkin’s No. 11 in a pregame ceremony on Aug. 25.
Larkin will join former Reds players Johnny Bench (No. 5), Joe Morgan (No. 8), David Concepcion (No. 13), Tex Kluszewski (No. 18), Frank Robinson (No. 20) and Tony Perez (No. 24) in having his number retired. The team also retired numbers for managers Fred Hutchinson (No. 1) and Sparky Anderson (No. 10).
Larkin was a 12-time All-Star and a one-time MVP who spent his entire 19-year career with the Reds, so it was odd that they waited so long to put his number up with the team’s other greats. That the move comes the same month of his Hall of Fame enshrinement probably isn’t a coincidence. However, the Reds aren’t one of those teams that only retire the numbers of Hall of Famers; neither Kluszewski nor Concepcion has made it to Cooperstown.
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.