Buster Olney makes the following observation about the post-firing Bobby Valentine:
Rival officials believe that Bobby Valentine’s relatively muted response to his firing may be tied to some kind of financial incentive, which is not uncommon in the sport. In other words, people are sometimes paid to not criticize.
Yes, non-disparagement clauses are common. Of course, given that Valentine is under contract through next year already, the Sox would have had to give him something else in exchange for a gag order. Unless of course the non-disparagement clause was in his original deal in the first place. Or maybe Valentine is just taking the high road here.
And, actually, given how most of the disparagement surrounding Boston managers in the past couple of years has been about them and from anonymous front office sources, one hopes that Valentine gets a little financial kicker whenever the inevitable Boston Globe story comes out this fall airing all of the dirty laundry from the 2012 season in a manner that reflects poorly on everyone except ownership.
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.