Gary Tuck resigning as Red Sox bullpen coach for personal reasons led to some speculation that Jason Varitek might be looked at to replace him on short notice, but apparently that’s not going to happen.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com talked to a source and reports “it does not appear that Varitek is being considered–or even wants to be considered–for a full-time return to uniform.”
Varitek remains in the organization as a special assistant to the front office, but Speier notes that in retiring he wanted to spend more time with his family and jumping back in as a coach would ruin that.
All of which means the Red Sox are looking for a new bullpen coach with two weeks until spring training.
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.