J.P. Howell drawing interest from “a handful” of teams

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Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

LHP J.P. Howell, who would like to return, said there are “a handful” of teams interested and wasn’t sure how quickly a decision will come. The Angels may be one.

The Cardinals, who really only need a left-handed reliever, could also be one of those interested teams.

Howell, 29, posted a 3.04 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 50 1/3 innings this past season for the Rays while holding left-handed batters to a .200/.306/.306 slash line. He has a .241/.323/.351 career split against lefties.

Jeremy Affeldt, a fellow southpaw, just signed a nice three-year, $18 million contract with the Giants.

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.