The central fact of the Rays miserable stadium situation is that they are contractually bound to St. Pete and the mayor there has threatened suit if the Rays even talk to anyone about a possible stadium in Tampa. But there is now a glimmer of hope:
City Council member Charlie Gerdes placed a proposal on Thursday’s council agenda that would give the team three years to investigate new stadium sites in either Hillsborough or Pinellas counties in exchange for a payment equal to the city’s annual operating subsidy on Tropicana Field, currently about $1.42 million.
But it’s not much of a glimmer, as no one gives the amendment a great chance of passing.
But it’s something. It’s evidence that least someone on the St. Pete city council is amenable to letting the Rays out of their lease. Maybe, eventually, more people will come around to a negotiated solution.
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.