How the Red Sox discovered Junichi Tazawa

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Why the stats vs. scouts thing is a dumb debate? There are some things one of ’em can do that the other can’t. Like finding a guy such as Red Sox pitcher Junichi Tazawa.

A great story today by Alex Speier over at WEEI about how the Red Sox found and scouted this guy, involving treks up mountains and a white guy scout trying to blend in at a nearly empty Japanese stadium in the middle of nowhere lest others figure out that Tazawa was being scouted.

Neat stuff.

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.