Team Canada announced its coaching staff for the World Baseball Classic, starting with manager (and longtime Blue Jays catcher) Ernie Whitt.
Larry Walker is the hitting/first base coach and Whitt’s staff also includes longtime big-league reliever Paul Quantrill.
Stubby Clapp, who in addition to having a fantastic name had a brief stint with the Cardinals in 2001, will also be on the staff, along with Tim Leiper, Denis Boucher, and Greg Hamilton.
And presumably they’ll spend the next few months figuring out a way to avoid using Russell Martin as a shortstop.
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.