Jair Jurrjens was a popular trade target exactly one year ago, but now he’s days away from hitting the free agent market.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Braves plan to non-tender Jurrjens before Friday’s deadline. It doesn’t come a big surprise, as he posted a 6.89 ERA and 19/18 K/BB ratio over 48 1/3 innings at the major league level this season and is set to get a raise from his $5.5 million salary in arbitration. It’s unlikely the Braves will be able to find any trade interest before Friday’s 11:59 p.m. ET non-tender deadline.
Jurrjens has dealt with knee issues over the past couple of years and his velocity has declined right along with it, but there will likely be plenty of teams lining up for the possibility of a rebound. The Curacao native doesn’t turn 27 years old until January.
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.