While this news is hardly unexpected given what we heard over the weekend, the Mets announced this afternoon that catcher Anthony Recker was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. This officially clears the way for top prospect Travis d’Arnaud to remain in the big leagues.
D’Arnaud made his major league debut on Saturday after John Buck was placed on the paternity leave list. There was some speculation that the 24-year-old backstop would head right back down to the minors once Buck was ready to return, but the Mets now appear committed to giving him as much playing time as possible down the stretch. In other words, common sense has prevailed.
D’Arnaud, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey deal, is 0-for-7 with five walks and two strikeouts through his first three games in the majors. Injuries have been an issue for him in the minors, but he has the potential to be a long-term solution behind the plate.
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.