Astros owner Jim Crane met with Lance Berkman

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We learned a couple of weeks ago that the Astros were going to reach out to Lance Berkman to investigate his interest as joining them as their DH.  Now they have reached out, reports Mark Berman of MyFoxHouston.com:

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane told FOX 26 Sports he met last week with free agent first baseman Lance Berkman.

“We had a chat in my office,” Crane said. “He was just seeing where we were at. He expressed some interest in maybe working a deal out.  “We haven’t gotten to that (discuss contract). I think his knee is still up in the air. So we got to get that all worked out. It was a get-acquainted meeting, really.”

With the new logo and stuff there is a definite “get the band back together” vibe coming from Houston.  And moving to the AL, the Astros do need someone who can DH.  Whether Berkman — a man who just recently said that the AL was a “Mickey Mouse league” because of the DH — is that guy remains to be seen.

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.