Joakim Soria, who had his $8 million option declined by the Royals, has agreed to a two-year deal with the Rangers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Soria missed all of 2012 following Tommy John elbow surgery, but was among the elite closers in baseball from 2007-2011, saving 160 games with a 2.40 ERA in 315 innings.
Presumably in Texas he’d act as a setup man for Joe Nathan, who himself was signed by the Rangers one season after coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery that cost him all of 2010.
Nathan saved 37 games with a 2.80 ERA and 78/13 K/BB ratio in 64 innings for the Rangers this year, so if Soria is healthy Texas’ late-inning bullpen could be scary. Soria would replace free agent Mike Adams as Nathan’s primary setup man.
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.