Eric Adelson of Yahoo! was in Lakeland and he spoke to Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel. Who is still stinging, apparently, that his efforts to get Miguel Cabrera to be go all rah-rah team leadery during the playoffs last season were unsuccessful:
“You have to step up and say something. Miggy’s more about his game. I don’t see him as a leader … Everybody has their eyes on Miggy Cabrera.”
This echoes what Dotel said last fall. And while, sure, you’d like to see your best player be your team leader, Cabrera has never been that guy. He’s reported by everyone to be a quiet, sometimes even introverted type. He is not a likely candidate to lead a team motivational meeting. Especially on a team with a manager like Jim Leyland, guys like Prince Fielder and, as of this year, Torii Hunter.
You’d think that Dotel would know that by now. And that there is zero upside and a lot of downside to saying stuff like this to the press. But then again, Dotel has been on 13 teams in 14 seasons as a big leaguer. I’m guessing that fact and these kinds of comments are somewhat related.
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.