Pat Neshek, A’s avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Oakland has avoided arbitration with Pat Neshek by signing the reliever to a one-year deal, according to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com.

Neshek spent most of this year at Triple-A in the Orioles’ farm system, but was sold to the A’s in August, got called up to Oakland, and tossed 20 innings with a 1.37 ERA down the stretch.

He also appeared in one playoff game, getting two outs to escape a jam against the Tigers just days after rejoining the team following the death of his new-born son.

From his odd pitching mechanics and frequent interaction with fans online to his difficult comeback from Tommy John surgery and the personal tragedy his family suffered Neshek is someone to root for on and off the field, so it’s nice to see he’ll get an extended opportunity in the majors for 2013.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a 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.