For the second straight season Edinson Volquez will get the Opening Day start for the Padres.
Volquez wasn’t very good last year, walking a league-high 105 batters in 183 innings while posting a 4.14 ERA that was much worse than average considering the Padres’ pitcher-friendly ballpark. He was particularly bad in the second half, allowing 117 baserunners in 75 innings on the way to a 5.14 ERA.
Of course, the Padres don’t have many other options for the Game 1 assignment. Clayton Richard was slightly more effective than Volquez in 2012, but his 3.99 ERA was hardly impressive and he gave up 228 hits in 219 innings.
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.