Indians send top prospect Trevor Bauer to Triple-A

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No big surprise, but the Indians have sent top prospect Trevor Bauer to Triple-A after he was in the mix for the final rotation spot.

Cleveland previously reassigned Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor-league camp, taking him out of the rotation mix, but fellow reclamation projection Scott Kazmir remains in the running along with Carlos Carrasco.

Bauer was acquired from the Diamondbacks in the big swap that saw Shin-Soo Choo leave Cleveland and has No. 1 starter upside if he can consistently throw strikes, but at age 22 and with just 14 starts at Triple-A he was a longshot to make the Opening Day roster.

Letting him dominate for a month or two in the International League before a call-up is certainly a reasonable idea. Plus, it potentially gives our own Craig Calcaterra a chance to make the trek to Columbus to see Bauer pitch and, more importantly, perhaps talk him into a rap battle or at least a nice lunch date.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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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.