Report: Nelson Cruz could appeal Biogenesis suspension

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The word Tuesday was that everyone in the Biogenesis scandal not named Alex Rodriguez was ready to accept their fate and serve 50-game suspensions. Nelson Cruz, though, may not have gotten that memo. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman and USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale are reporting that Cruz may appeal his suspension in order to remain the Texas lineup through the end of the season.

Obviously, that’d be great news for the Rangers. Cruz is an overrated player with his subpar defense in right field and modest OBPs, but the Rangers still need his bat in the middle of the lineup. He’s in the midst of his best season since 2010, hitting .271/.334/.501 with 24 homers and 72 RBI in 103 games.

It’s possible that Cruz is being influenced by the Rangers in his decision. Expectations were that he wouldn’t be re-signed as a free agent this winter, suspension or no suspension, but the Rangers could have assured that he’d presented with an offer f he finished out this season on the roster. That’d be very important since, with a suspension of at least 50 games and possibly more like 65 hanging over his head, there’d seem to be little demand for his services in free agency. He’d most likely have to take a one-year contract in an attempt to rebuild his value.

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.