Tsuyoshi Nishioka just completed the worst three-game series I’ve ever seen from a major leaguer, going 0-for-12 at the plate, committing three errors in the field, and making several other obvious defensive miscues that weren’t officially ruled errors.
He also played horribly at Triple-A prior to being called up and was plenty awful in Minnesota last season, leading fans and media members to wonder if the Twins could stick with him for even one more game.
They can and they will, according to general manager Terry Ryan:
He had a very difficult game yesterday and we all saw it but the only way to find out how he’ll respond up here is to play him. It didn’t to go so well so now we’ll have a decision to make once [Trevor] Plouffe is healthy and ready to come off. So we’ll see how Plouffe responds in the next few days and go from there.
In other words, Nishioka is going to stick around until Trevor Plouffe comes off the disabled list and then the Twins will send him back to Triple-A. Or maybe just outright release him and eat the $3 million he’s owed next season.
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.