Minnesota has finally decided to say goodbye to Matt Capps, declining his $6 million option for 2013 and paying the 29-year-old right-hander a $250,000 buyout.
That ends one of the more head-scratching love affairs in recent memory, as the Twins gave up Wilson Ramos to get Capps from the Nationals in mid-2010 and then paid him about $13 million for what turned out to be a total of 122 innings with a 3.61 ERA and 5.4 strikeouts per nine frames.
Capps is a perfectly solid setup man when healthy, but he’s an example of the folly behind labeling someone a “proven closer” based on save totals and he’ll likely have to settle for a modest one-year deal while coming back from shoulder problems.
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.