When 99 percent is not 99 percent

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I figure the Matt Garza-to-Texas trade is going to happen. There’s certainly been a lot of talk about it. But really, I don’t know. We’ll hear when we hear. But I can’t help but laugh when, twice a year — during hot stove time and now, just before the trade deadline — I am once again reminded how silly the business of reporting on trades and signings in.

The Matt Garza-to-Texas deal was reported yesterday to be “99 percent done.” Late last night, however, we get reports that the deal is breaking down. The snag: the teams can’t agree after discussing “varying packages for the 29-year-old starter.” Translation: Texas and Chicago can’t decide which players are going to be traded for Garza.

Now, call me crazy, but when half of the deal is not yet agreed to, calling the deal “99 percent done” seems a bit off. That’s like saying I’m 99 percent done with buying a car but that I just haven’t picked a car yet. It’s like saying I’m 99 percent married but I just can’t find the right woman. It really does take two to tango with these things.

I understand that trade rumors are weird things. People lie to reporters. Reporters misread information. Things change quite quickly. As such, it’s not at all reasonable to come down hard on guys who report things like deals being done 99 percent unless they are habitual offenders. I’ve been told myself that things are done-deals only to see them not done at all. Things happen and occasionally you look stupid through no fault of your own.

But it is something to remember between now and July 31. It’s worth reminding ourselves over and over that no deal is done until it is done. Before that, it’s all just chatter. Fun chatter, but chatter all the same.

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.