Josh Hamilton says the Mariners didn’t really try hard to sign him

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Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik went on the radio in Seattle last week and said that the team made a legit shot at signing Josh Hamilton. This followed a couple weeks of reports that, yes indeed, the Mariners had been working hard to get him. There was apparently the framework of a deal in place, awaiting only the Rangers to make a move or not before the M’s could swoop in. But then the Angels swooped, rendering it all rather academic.

Not so, says Josh Hamilton. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports:

This one may never get entirely resolved, but for what it’s worth, Josh Hamilton went on the syndicated radio and TV program The Dan Patrick Show on Friday and gave an interview in which he was asked about the process that led to his signing a five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Towards the 10-minute, 30-second mark, he was asked by Patrick whether the Mariners had made “a strong play” for him.

“No, not really,” Hamilton said. “I mean, they were just like some other teams. You hear about Seattle but other teams, you didn’t hear about.”

Academic, I suppose. Except, if the Mariners truly did make a strong offer and push to sign Hamilton and he’s now saying they didn’t, it’s not exactly fair to Seattle, which is trying to overcome a perception that it’s no place a superstar wants to be.

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.