When the Blue Jays signed Maicer Izturis to a three-year deal, $9 million deal in November the assumption was that he’d be their starting second baseman, but then two weeks later Toronto pulled off the blockbuster trade with Miami that brought in another option for the position in Emilio Bonifacio.
Yesterday manager John Gibbons told reporters that the position “is up for grabs” and “we’ll see how it plays out.”
Gibbons did admit to John Lott of the National Post that Izturis is the front-runner because he has more experience as a middle infielder–3,500 career innings, compared to 1,300 for Bonifacio–but it sounds likely that neither guy will be an everyday starter there.
Also of note: According to Lott general manager Alex Anthopoulos “indicated that he might not have signed Izturis to a three-year contract if he had known in advance that he could pull off a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins.”
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.