Red Sox expected to pursue trade for Justin Upton … or not

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Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald brings the knowledge:

The Arizona Diamondbacks are once again actively shopping outfielder Justin Upton, and despite the appearance of the Red Sox on Upton’s no-trade list, that would not prohibit a trade of the 25-year-old to Boston, according to a major-league source. Players frequently insert names of teams they are willing to play for, as in this case between Upton and the Red Sox, on their no-trade list for negotiating purposes in the event of a trade. The Dodgers were on Carl Crawford’s no-trade in August.

The bigger problem for the Red Sox is that they don’t have very many attractive trade chips and they’ll be battling for Upton this winter with teams — like the Rangers — that do. But let’s not rule out any club quite yet.

Upton grew up in Virginia and is known to have interest in returning full-time to the East Coast.

He batted .280/.355/.430 with 17 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 67 RBI in 150 games this past season.

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UPDATE, 9:01 PM: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic was told by Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers that the Red Sox are not on Upton’s no-trade list. So that hurdle doesn’t need to be cleared.

UPDATE, 10:45 PM: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the Red Sox are already out.

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.