Last year, when the Marlins were all hopped up on offseason spending and expectations, Ricky Nolasco started the third game of the season behind Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.
This year he’ll draw the Opening Day assignment, manager Mike Redmond announced this afternoon.
Nolasco also started Opening Day for the Marlins in 2009, but back then he was coming off a season in which he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 212 innings. Now he’s coming off a four-season stretch with ERAs of 4.48, 4.67, 4.51, and 5.08.
Of course, it’s not like the Marlins have anyone better.
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.