Yankees hit with $18.9 million luxury tax bill

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According to the Associated Press, the Yankees will pay a luxury tax to MLB for the 10th consecutive year.

The Yankees finished with a $222.5 million payroll for the purposes of the tax, well above the $178 million threshold. They were charged at 42.5 percent of the overage, so they’ll owe $18.9 million to MLB. No other team will pay a luxury tax for their 2012 payroll.

This year’s fee is up from the $13.9 million tax paid by the Yankees last year. The club has racked up a luxury tax bill of $224.2 million over the past decade, but the streak may not continue for much longer. The Yankees are currently trying to get their payroll under the new $189 million luxury tax threshold beginning in 2014, which is a big reason why general manager Brian Cashman has tried to hand out one-year deals this offseason. Ichiro Suzuki’s new two-year, $13 million deal is an exception, though they only went there because he received multi-year offers elsewhere.

The Red Sox paid the luxury tax in 2010 and 2011, but they fell just $47,177 short of the threshold this year. August’s mega-trade with the Dodgers gave them just enough breathing room.

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.