Random press release:
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that free agent Minor League right-handed pitcher Rafael W. Martinez has received a 50-game suspension for his refusal to test, a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
That’s one you don’t see very often.
This is the Rafael Martinez who was in the Giants organization. But he apparently didn’t play anywhere in 2012. Before that he had some rookie league experience and then spent four years in the Dominican Summer League. You have to think that he simply gave up on baseball and didn’t take the test because, heck, why should he?
I’m sure someone, however, will spin this as further evidence that baseball needs tougher suspensions, drug use is rampant, etc. etc. froth, foam and growl.
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.