MLB, Fox and TBS reach eight year broadcast rights extension — some blackout restrictions lifted

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The key thing that you should care about most first: starting in 2014, Saturday out-of-market games will no longer be blacked out from MLB.tv and Extra Innings customers, even when Fox has a national game.  It’s not as significant as, say, MLB lifting the territory-driven MLB.tv blackouts currently enforced for vast swaths of the country despite the fact that they are unable to watch the games on TV, but this is a step in the right direction.

As for the stuff that the league, the owners and the networks care most about: the league just announced an eight year extension of the TV rights deals for Fox and TBS.  For the most part it will remain the same — Saturday games on Fox, Sundays on TBS, the World Series and All-Star Game on Fox, the rest of the playoffs split between them — with a lot of interactive and live streaming as part of the deal.

The money: Selig says that the ESPN, Fox and Turner deals are collectively worth $12.4 billion between 2014 and 2021.

There will be big money rolling in to every major league team now as a result of this deal.  Adjust your surprise at teams’ spending habits accordingly.

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.