The Cubs apparently think this is Little League

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The scene: Nationals Park, during the fifth inning of the last night’s Cubs-Nats game, Nats up 7-2. The incident: Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk is jawing from the dugout — after he was ejected umpire Jerry Layne referred to it as “screaming out obscenities,” and Nats third-base coach Bo Porter jawed right back at him.  The reason, according to Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger:

“You’re up 7-2, Lendy Castillo’s pitching, it’s 3-0. You don’t swing in that situation”

This referring to Jayson Werth swinging at a 3-0 pitch just prior.  Also agitating the Cubs was the fact that the Nats stole two bases that inning.

The next inning, things got chippier, when Castillo threw at Bryce Harper. Benches cleared.  While everyone later said the requisite “he didn’t mean to do that” stuff, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com observes that Clevenger didn’t move an inch to catch the ball that Harper had to jump out of the way to avoid, so he knew where that pitch was headed. And then he was in the middle of the scrum that developed. Quirk was ejected, as was Clevenger and Cubs reliever Manny Corpas.

The overall assessment: total amateur hour by the Cubs.  Maybe it’s wrong for 12 year-olds to run up the score on one another, but this is the big leagues. Guys are going to steal bases and swing on 3-0.  They won’t stop trying just because you’re getting your asses kicked all over the park. Don’t like your asses getting kicked all over the park? Play better.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.