Marlins sign Kevin Kouzmanoff to minor league contract

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According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins have signed Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league contract. He’ll get an invite to big league camp in spring training.

If you haven’t heard Kouzmanoff’s name much recently, there’s a reason for that. The 31-year-old played exclusively in the minor leagues this season after failing to make the Royals out of spring training. Limited to just 90 games due to injury, he batted .276/.309/.382 with two home runs, 46 RBI and a .691 OPS over 355 plate appearances between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.

Kouzmanoff’s career has tumbled since he was traded from the Padres to the Athletics in January of 2010, but assuming the Marlins don’t make any major additions, he could get a chance to compete for the third base job during spring training.

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.