There was a brief period in the early offseason when it was thought that perhaps prospect Jurickson Profar would be given the Rangers’ second base job, moving Ian Kinsler to first base. But that’s out the window:
I’m assuming Profar’s ineffectiveness and forearm inflammation in winter ball put to rest any notion of giving him the second base job. If, indeed, that notion ever truly resided in Ron Washington’s head. Kid is still 19 years-old, after all.
Profar, it would seem, will start the season in Triple-A, where he has yet to play. He hit .281/.368/.452 in a full season in the Texas League last year which is pretty astounding for a guy his age. But really, nothing will be harmed and much could be gained by giving him some more time in the minors.
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.